<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by John R Leonetti. Starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Eric Ladin
Not expecting much from this generally disliked film, I was eerily surprised by the times I got scared in Annabelle.
Annabelle is the prequel to The Conjuring (the horror film that was acclaimed by many, but I thought it was just alright) showing us how the evil got into the doll in the first place.
Dolls do tend to have that creepy quality about them which is why I always wonder what possesses people to have them in their houses and especially for their children. The Annabelle doll is particularly grotesque which is what makes me wonder why the film’s protagonist Mia (Annabelle Wallis, yes her real name is the same as the movie title) is enchanted when her husband John Gordon (Ward Horton) gifts it to her during her pregnancy. Also strange is that they don’t know the sex of the child and still adorn the room with all these dolls. Now I don’t mean to propagate gender stereotypes but it does seem a tad much.
But that aside, Annabelle has a dramatic entrance into the world with neighbours being brutally killed by their prodigal daughter Annabelle and her cult boyfriend who then barge into Mia’s house only to be killed and commit suicide in their presence. And so Annabelle’s spirit is imbibed by the doll that then makes things go bump in the night. Mia immediately knows something is wrong and her husband rightly gets rid of the doll and they both shift out of the house. This is a plot point that rings true with me. All those other scary movies have the protagonists stay in the house and keep the doll or only dump it in the basement, which seems unreal.
But the doll finds its way back into Mia’s life and becomes a threat to their new daughter. A kindly neighbour Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) and their church priest Father Perez (Tony Amendola) are brought into the picture to be confidants and allies in this fight against the devil.
What’s great about Annabelle is that though there are some jump out of your seat moments that work very well there are also genuinely frightening situations that you can relate to.
Annabelle Wallis (the actress playing Mia) does a good job of the mother who must protect her family. She’s never over the top.
Annabelle is a short and scary film that though not very unique (none of the scary films coming out of Hollywood are anyway) is effectively eerie.
The Curse of Annabelle
Now this film is based on true events by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Which is what also makes it more frightening. The cast and crew talk about the story as well as the fact that it’s ‘real life’ background makes it more terrifying. They also tell us of some weird going-on during the filming of the movie on set. Everyone loves a good scare!
DVD Courtesy Sony DADC