Okay, so this is the first film that I’m going to put in my “New Releases” section, and let’s hope they don’t carry on as they’ve started.
Annabelle is the hotly anticipated sequel (well prequel) to 2013’s The Conjuring. When they say it’s a prequel they mean “hey guys do you remember those 2 scenes where you saw a doll’s face?”. Absolutely unrelated film. It’s about a possessed doll called Annabelle (shocker) that is possessed by the soul of a muderous occult member. She proceeds to wreak havoc on a couple with a newborn baby in an attempt to steal their souls for the Devil.
If you read my review for The Conjuring (2013) it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t exactly badly recieved. As I put it in the article, “It’s the best of a bad bunch”. Annabelle however, is probably the first time I really wanted to rip into a film due to the furore surrounding its release.
The protagonists are a classic, all American, Christian, church going, suburbian couple, and to be honest they are completely and utterly bland. The husband is a Doctor and the wife is a housewife. That’s all I can tell you about those 2 individually, as there is literally no character development at all in the whole movie, for ANY character. Not even a proper backstory for Annabelle herself! The couple, however, are so boring and unlikeable that you feel absolutely no remorse for the events of the film. Do you know what though? I’m not going to blame the actors at all (Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton) because they did very well to say how terrible the script was.
Annabelle could have been a completely terrifying entity, but after the 20th time the camera freezed on her face after a ghostly occurrence, she quickly became boring and lost the whole fright factor she could have had. I mean, literally every 10 minutes the camera would fixate on her puppety face and remain there for about 10 seconds. Boring. Less of that next time please. I try to be as professional as possible whenever I’m writing reviews, but when this kept happening, I was thinking of this (gif below) as though she was saying “It was me…”
Further to this, although the film is called “Annabelle” and they have this (initially) completely creepy, crazy scary doll posed to be main evil in the film, they decided to make a sub, and take all of the sinister nature away from Annabelle and make this crappy CGI shadow demon. That doll, had they focused on it’s back story enough, could have been potentially one of the scariest movie villains I’ve ever seen. But no. They push her aside to fit in an anthromorphic, poorly rendered demon.
I know I seem like I’m being harsh, but I’ve never (not a hyperbole, literally never) been so disappointed with a movie in my life. It’s a terribly clichéd, overhyped, unscary piece of garbage.
Of course there were some smart references throughout, like to the Manson Family and setting it in a time when cults were really quite a prominent thing on the California pop culture scene. That added realism and really made it feel like it actually happened. It kills me because I really wanted to like it, but the good, smart aspects are so heavily diluted and drowned out by the bad aspects I just can’t give it a good review. My reasoning for all of this is down to a lot of what I said in my review of The Conjuring (2013), they took all of the bad aspects and none of the good. For example, once again they sacrificed storyline in an attempt to achieve 100 scares per minute. It makes you jump. No lasting psychological fears, no questioning reality, all it does is make you jump every now and then and by the time you’ve reached half an hour into it, you’re numb to the surprises and it doesn’t make you jump again. The scariest films purposely don’t have loads of little scary moments, they have a few hugely scary moments. It stops the audience from expecting things and catches them out more often.
As I said before, this is the first time I’ve felt obliged to write a bad review of a film. Following The Conjuring shouldn’t have been too hard, but apparently it was. It’s not good enough to pay to see, so don’t waste your money. Watch it on Sky, believe me, you can wait.
Paranormal/Psychological: Creepy at times, a few jumps