Take a Drink: every time you see “Annabelle”.
Do a Shot: for every “jump” scare. (This might kill you)
Do a Shot: every time the main character’s sanity is questioned.
Pour One Out: for originality in horror movies.
By: Frankie B. (Three Beers) –
Annabelle follows in the footsteps of James Wan’s Insidious and The Conjuring, serving as a spin-off and prequel to the latter. Horror movies are money-making machines for Hollywood, low-cost productions that only need one big weekend to make a ton of profit. Annabelle is also another “sequel” that is completely unneeded. Could someone let Hollywood know that original horror movies usually work and sequels are usually awful?
Annabelle follows newly married couple Mia Gordon (Annabelle Willis) and John Gordon (Ward Horton), who are seemingly the perfect suburban couple. Some crazy cultists come along, slaughter the next door neighbors, and then set their sights on the Gordons. In the ensuing scuffle, the cultists are killed by the police but not before completing a ritual with a doll in the Gordon’s unborn child’s room. Supernatural happenings start to occur around the doll and the family soon realizes that their baby is in danger.
The central performance from Annabelle Willis is actually what keeps this movie rolling along. She plays the frightened mother extremely well, and really hooks you into caring for her and her child’s safety. Ms. Willis dominates the screen and carries the movie on her back, would have been nice to see what she would have done with a script that didn’t treat her character as a giant stereotype (helpless housewife). The first 15-20 minutes of the movie are super suspenseful with great use of subtle foreshadowing. The “Annabelle” doll is used very sparingly throughout the movie, which is a great decision considering the threat that a porcelain doll presents is minimal at best. I still believe that this could have been marketed as a stand alone horror movie, instead of being tied at the hip with The Conjuring.
To be perfectly honest. this movie is pretty fucking pointless. I’m not really sure that audiences were clamoring for a spin-off movie of a doll introduced in The Conjuring. Not to say that the concept of the haunted doll has been done better in the past, but the fact that Annabelle is a weird spin-off/prequel just hurts it. If you haven’t seen The Conjuring, you should watch it after seeing this. The whole thing will flow a lot smoother.
It would have really helped if this movies was scary, at all. There are no real stakes in the couple being haunted. No one is really at risk of being killed, unless you happen to try to mess with the spirit. The doll is there mostly to terrorize the audience and really only factors into the on-screen action in a meaningful way a couple of times.
In a year with virtually no worthwhile horror movies, Annabelle stands on top of the mediocre mountain. If you had a burning desire to see the origin story of the creepy doll from The Conjuring, then this is right up your alley. If you don’t like creepy ass porcelain dolls, then you may want to avoid this one.