Starring: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Running Time: 98 minutes
After the success of James Wan's The Conjuring, rumors of a sequel circulated quickly. I was content with simply having it a one off and not producing unnecessary installments for a potential subpar franchise, especially since Mr. Wan announced he would not be doing horror movies anymore. When Annabelle was announced, a friend and I figured this would be a straight to DVD release, of course, it was not.
John and Mia Form are expecting a child and are excited about their new lives together. One day, John decides to surprise his wife with a rare doll, Annabelle, that she's been looking for. Unfortunately, this thoughtful gift becomes more of a nightmare-ish problem for the couple. Together they try everything to free themselves from the evil curse placed upon them and protect their newborn baby.
As unnecessary as this movie was, it was a harmless addition. I have already reviewed The Conjuring with a more in depth review from Ophelia. We both loved the movie and acknowledged how it brought back elements that modern horror is missing or lacking. But we both were aware of the criticism it received from new generation horror fans. Despite not having Mr. Wan's direction, I wanted to check it out.
Annabelle may appeal to the new generation a little more than its predecessor, meaning this movie has plenty music stings and jump scares. As annoying as it is to me, it didn't affect my enjoyment too negatively. The pacing and characters try to mimic The Conjuring while keeping the story moving along to keep the viewers' attention, especially the new generation.
Going into this movie, you automatically might think this is the new Chucky, but honestly it really isn't. While Chucky has free reign to interact and react, Annabelle's terror and overall creepy aura is purely stationary and more possession, which makes her all the more creepy. She definitely does as much as any porcelain doll staring into your soul from your grandma's shelf. One more thing I want to point out is that I like that the movie suggests similar viewer's thoughts in The Conjuring that is shown in this movie. The Conjuring addresses "why doesn't the family move" and Annabelle addresses "why don't they get rid of the doll and move". I like movies that do that.
Aside from the music sting and jump scare combos, I wish this movie gave its characters more depth and less of movie role tropes. The actors did well with what they were given and the backstory of Annabelle was unique or at least different than what you would expect from an evil doll.
Overall, I believe The Conjuring utilized suspense a lot more than Annabelle. It didn't rely on its jump scare payoffs to get its audience, but there were a few really good suspenseful moments featured throughout Annabelle. The story is entertaining and intriguing and the movie delivers some decent scares.
If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.