Review: Annabelle


All dolled up with nowhere new to go…

One of the most important things to know about a horror movie is: is it actually scary? Not in name and genre only, but seat jumping, nail biting scary? – Annabelle is scary.

We first meet the creepy collector’s doll, Annabelle, in the 2013 box office hit, The Conjuring. As a prequel, the film is set in the late 60s in a Californian suburb where a young couple, Mia (played coincidentally by Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton), who become recipients of terrifying occurrences by supernatural entities.

The movie starts with John buying Annabelle as a gift for Mia, who collects vintage porcelain dolls, and it is the last one needed to complete her collection. After some unusual Charles Manson like attacks, the couple decide to rid themselves of the doll and move into a peaceful neighbourhood; but things are seldom what they seem. The movie fits the criteria of horror by repeating old clichés of good versus evil in the form of priests versus demons, satanic cult killings and of course, the need to save a child by any means necessary.

The film has its high and low points, as any movie does, but the stand out area in this movie is the timing of jumpy scenes; they are sheer perfection. The director, John R. Leonetti has created great insidious scenes using off-centre shots and uses the audience’s peripheral vision against them, wreaking havoc with your emotional state. The film score was also pure genius. It had the right amount of eerie music and well-timed silences. A few bad moments were the reveal of the “demon”, which looked like a burnt tree, and an unfortunate absence of a connection with the main characters.

As a horror film, Annabelle ticks all the formulas for a scary film, but unfortunately the crushing lack of a unique plot was this horror’s main downfall. It seems that we as an audience will be stuck with these overused recipes for horror flicks, which is arguably the real scare…

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