Annabelle, baby, Blood, chase, death, demon, doll, Ed Warren, evil, father, film, first born, Ghost, Horror, husband, James Wan, Lorraine Warren, mother, Murder, newly weds, nursery, parents, posessed, Posession, pram, Review, scary, The Conjuring, toys, wife
Annabelle is a thoroughly mediocre offering, which just manages to scrape above the level of snooze-fest with a couple of solid scares and decent acting.
I’ve discussed the bloody Warrens on this blog a few times. And if you think they were ever anything more than a couple of old con artists, you might want to leave. And don’t click that link either.
Annabelle is a spin-off of The Conjuring – which chronicles some of the Warrens adventures in demonology. Annabelle provides us with a prequel to that film, involving the aforementioned demon possessed doll.
Yes, the story of Annabelle which we viewed in The Conjuring is ‘real’, in the same sense that anything involving the Warrens can be said to be ‘real.’ The story presented here surrounds Annabelle’s origins, and no – it is not based on anything remotely like the Truth. And no one is pretending it is. Not even the Warrens.
Here’s a couple of pictures of the real Annabelle:
Yep. The real Annabelle is a Raggedy Ann doll – and it was nice to see a ‘real’ Raggedy Annabelle in the background of a couple of scenes in this film. Not quite so terrifying, is she? You can read the story of the real Annabelle here.
But back to this latest offering. From start to finish, Annabelle feels like filler for the main feature. We don’t get to see Ed or Lorraine here, though they are referenced obliquely by the priest. Instead we follow Mia and John, a young couple expecting their first baby.
Mia has a creepy obsession with porcelain dolls, while John happily acts as her enabler, providing more of these unholy abominations, instead of telling her to get off her backside and get a damn job. Oh wait, I forgot, this is the 1970s. A place where grown women still played with dolls and didn’t have to go out and work, but could still live in fucking enormous apartments. Thank you feminism.
So yeah, weirdly, shortly after John brings home a new horrific doll, their next door neighbours are murdered by their estranged daughter. The nutty bitch has got herself involved with a Satanic cult and for reasons which are entirely glossed over in this movie, after killing her parents she sets about the neighbours. During the scuffle Mia gets stabbed in the belly and John gets beaten about the head. The daughter, Annabelle dies while cradling the hideous doll in her arms.
John and Mia move away from their home after Mia gets spooked and thinks creepy shit is happening. Long story short – creepy shit is happening. Annabelle and her unnamed male fellow Satanist were trying to raise a demon. Quite what this has to do with killing her parents, attacking their neighbours and molesting a doll – is not in the least bit fucking clear. But anyway, as a result John and Mia continue to be haunted/demonised by the doll Annabelle and ghost Annabelle.
This is all very tedious shit – until the actual demon shows up in the sequence in the basement. Since Insidious, showing the monster has become the new, not showing the monster. They do a gorgeous shot that completely mirrors the Lipstick face demon behind the chair moment from Insidious, only more slowly and subtly. I loved it. Here’s a screen grab to ruin the moment for you:
There’s a nice sequence when the demon is chasing Mia up the stairs too. The bit in the apartment where is jumps off the ceiling is stupid though. It’s supposed to be a massive jump scare – but it doesn’t work. It’s just stupid.
It takes too long for things to get going in this movie. Unless you find dolls inherently terrifying – and to be honest, I really don’t – you’re going to find the first half void of creepiness. It’s great once the demon shows up in the basement – but the mystery is lost very quickly. We weren’t expecting a Demon – and suddenly he’s there! And within a few seconds, we’ve seen everything. No mystery and no tension. Boo.
There’s a lot of stuff going on that doesn’t really make sense. Why does Annabelle the ghost continue to waft around the place like a bad smell? Why in one scene is she inexplicably a small child? What does the murder of Annabelle’s parents have to do with raising a demon? Why do the two Satanists go into Mia and John’s house? Why does Annabelle pick up the doll? Why does Evelyn throw herself out of the window – thus giving the demon exactly what it wants?
It’s all very silly, but it’s reasonably entertaining and fills the gap until The Conjuring 2 arrives.