Annabelle Review

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By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

As humans, we have the innate ability to experience a wide range of emotions. We feel the joys of happiness and the pain of sadness, the exhilarating feeling of love to the agony over the loss of a loved one. But few emotions can paralyze us like that of fear. Whether it be a fear of heights, a fear of spiders, fear of crowded places or the fear of clowns (I know some of you hate clowns!), fear has the ability to stop us in our tracks, and completely debilitating us from doing anything at all. Then there is fear brought on by an outside force, an unseen force which can only be experienced. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Annabelle.

John Gordon (Ward Horton) and his wife, Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis) are expecting their first baby. Mia has a fondness for porcelain type dolls, and John buys her a vintage doll she’s always wanted, Annabelle. One night, two members of a Satanic cult get into their home, who have an affinity for the doll and the need to try and kill the unborn baby. But the Gordon’s survive, and move to a new city to begin their life anew. But unexplained things start happening around the home, beginning with the Annabelle doll showing up after seemingly being thrown away. Paranormal events, becoming more scary and more violent, arise and the Gordon’s find out that the Satanists summoned something more sinister which has attached itself to the doll. Will the Gordon’s find a way to rid themselves of this evil entity or will their lives be taken by the purest of evils?

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Annabelle is a sort of prequel to the recently successful film, The Conjuring. If you recall, The Conjuring begins with college students telling the story of a doll that began moving on its own and leaving messages. You may also remember that it was probably the scariest looking doll ever created and you had to ask yourself, “Who would EVER create something that scary to sell to people?! And who would buy it?!?” Well, someone did buy it, and this is the story of how the doll came to be. Annabelle is your standard paranormal genre film backed by the success of The Conjuring, using that as a basis to drive its own story. Plus it helps that, after leaving The Conjuring, everyone was talking about that scary doll, so it was perfect for the studio to make a film based on it. Now the validity of the story is up for grabs, especially being that the real doll is an old Raggedy Ann doll. And what we know of the doll is from the college students who owned it and from the doll, which currently resides with the Warrens’ Occult Museum in a locked case with a sign reading, “WARNING. Positively do not open!” Annabelle takes places before all that, so take the story with a few grains of salt from your margarita.

The acting in the film isn’t quite top notch, but is more or less what you’d expect from a film in this genre. There aren’t any big names present, which makes the film feel a little more realistic being as we don’t have anyone known to connect to. And the scares are fairly typical, but were enhanced by overly loud “BOOMs” and bass notes when something scary happened. This does enhance the scare factor because you get the extra scare from not expecting how loud the music will be during these times, but there are also generally creepy things in the film. From a scene with two children and some art work they create, to a little girl in the home and an elevator scene in a basement, Annabelle delves into the pits of what humans fear and indulges in making you uncomfortable in your seats. Plus there’s the ugliest doll in the world, and, if you weren’t afraid of dolls before, you’ll definitely think twice before buying your daughter one in the future. You’ll also think twice before letting sketchy people in your house who may be Satanists as well.

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Annabelle really is banking on the greatness of The Conjuring to help bring people into the theaters, and I’m sure it will for an opening weekend or two. But it doesn’t quite have what it takes to set itself apart in the thriller / horror genre of films like its predecessor. And not saying that Annabelle isn’t entertaining, because it is, especially if you’re a fan of these films, but it’s just not epic. And with so many films of this type released every year, it needs a little something else to set it above the rest.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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