Annabelle (2014) harkens to a more classic style for horror movies where the focus is not only to make you jump or squirm, but to make you think and feel.
I was very excited when I first heard that the new horror movie from producer James Wan would be released this month, and I could hardly wait to go see it.
Released on Friday, I skipped the drive-in showing in favor of a cool movie theater and my parents coming along for the ride. My mom is who I’d most credit with introducing me to horror movies, though my love (obsession) with them far exceeds hers.
Although partly portrayed as a prequel to last year’s The Conjuring, Annabelle is primarily a stand-alone film.
Set during the 60’s as paranoia over cults was at a peak in the public consciousness – most notably, the Manson Family – this is the story of a young married couple about to have their first child who are teased and tormented by something supernatural which makes use of a harmless – though extremely ugly and creepy – child’s doll.
The film starts where Annabelle’s story started in The Conjuring and then rewinds to a year earlier to explain her origins. There are some twists and turns through the movie to try and keep you on your toes, with some well-timed jumps, but it doesn’t break any new ground beyond what was already set in Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring.
The story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, which is key to The Conjuring, is only just briefly touched on in Annabelle. It could have been left out, or the set-up at the beginning actually being left to the end of the film, for a better effect, but Annabelle remains a solid film.
The only other quibble I have is the look of the doll. By making Annabelle so repulsive to begin with, it reduces the build-up of suspense. In real life, Annabelle is a much more innocent Raggedy Ann doll.
If you enjoy mild scares with a touch of religious-based supernatural, this might be for you. Annabelle shows us the creepy doll is not just child’s play anymore.
Trailers for other movies mentioned above:
If you can’t figure from this post, I’ve become a big fan of James Wan, but only since he evolved beyond slasher to sophisticate.