John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are attacked by cultists who summon a demon into a creepy looking doll, in this semi-prequel to The Conjuring.
Annabelle is a terrible film. I’m not going to make any bones about it. With as good as The Conjuring is, Annabelle is as bad. Poorly directed and poorly written, it is quite clear this was a quick cash grab of a film, trying to ride along on the coat heels of a great horror film. This is not scary, not atmospheric. It should have been a straight to video film. Don’t waste your time with this garbage.
Mia and John are a newlywed couple, and Mia is pregnant. After church one night, they find their friends and neighbors dead. They are then attacked by two cultist who are killed by the police. Mia becomes afraid of going outside and soon weird things start happening in the house. Things get even stranger after she has the baby. Soon, Mia realizes that there is something wrong with the doll John got her. Like the doll is possessed! OMG!
Directed by John R. Leonetti (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Butterfly Effect 2), this film should have been worse. He also was the cinematographer on Mortal Kombat, Insidious, and The Conjuring. You would think he would have learned a thing or two about direction. Sadly, the film lacks atmosphere and the scenes where atmosphere is trying to be built look silly and out of place. At the very least, I would have expected the film to look good. It does not. It is bland and forgettable, much like the rest of the film.
I just watched this film about 3 hours ago, and am already forgetting what happened. It is that bland and boring. There is no chemistry between the two leads and their relationship rings false. This kills any tension or terror you might feel for the couple and the tribulations they are going through. This in turn kills the film.
What is intriguing about the failure of this film is the way it uses great ideas from other films and completely wastes them, making them neither new or intriguing. The film plays everything safe. In the beginning, during the cultist attack, Mia is stabbed in her pregnant stomach. That scene made me wonder if the film was going to be a brutal affair, allowing an unborn child to be murdered. This is not what happens. The baby and mother and father survive the attack. The film failed to follow through with the brutality. That isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but there really is no payoff for it in the end. Oh, no! The demon wants a soul! It wants the baby’s soul! But it will take any soul it can get, as evidenced at the end of the film when it steals the baby but puts it back when the token black character kills herself to save the blond haired, blue eyed family.
WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU WASTE ALFRE WOODARD AS A TOKEN BLACK CHARACTER AND GIVE HER NOTHING TO DO??? One of the great actors of our time, and you shoehorn her into a new age, Blessed Be, token black witch, though not voodoo, character. At least they decided not to make her voodoo . . .
Please, for the love of whatever holy figure you believe in, avoid this film. After watching it, I’m afraid The Conjuring won’t be as good as it is . . .I really, really wanted to like this film. I really did. It is just so completely uninspired and lacking in anything resembling originality that makes the film pointless and useless. There really isn’t any redeeming quality to this film. Not even the cinematography. Wow. It takes a special kind of talent to produce something so bland.
*NOTE* The trailer is much more atmospheric and horrifying than the actual film. Perhaps the trailer editor should have either directed the film or edited it. The trailer is very effective where the film isn’t.
* out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- The real Annabelle doll is actually a Raggedy Ann doll, not a porcelain doll as portrayed in the films.
- Alfre Woodard hadn’t seen The Conjuring prior to filming this. She prepared by researching the actual case.
- John R. Leonetti was the cinematographer on Child’s Play 3, which also featured a possessed doll.
- The name of the building the couple moves into is the Barclay, a reference to Andy Barclay from the Child’s Play series.