Director: John R. Leonetti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Evergreen Media Group, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Safran Company
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard
What It’s About: After their home is invaded by satanic cult members, a new family begins to experience strange phenomena that seem to surround an antique doll in their possession. This movie precedes the events in The Conjuring.
How I Watched It: In the theater. Evening. With friends.
Thoughts: **Some Spoilers**
We kick things off with the same group of kids that appeared in the Annabelle segment of The Conjuring. They’re telling the story of how they came to own the doll and some of the crazy things that have been happening since.
Then we delve into the history of the creeptastic doll. We have this happy little couple, Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton), with the missus knocked up. The couple has recently relocated to a new house, thanks to John’s new position at a local hospital. Mia is a doll collector, and had been searching for a doll like Annabelle for a long time. John finds one, and gifts it to her one night.
That same night, crazed cult members (1 man, 1 woman) murder their next-door neighbors and come a-knockin’ at their house. An intense fight happens, ending with the two cult members dead. The woman is found in the nursery where the doll collection is on display–she’s holding Annabelle after committing suicide.
Welllllll, guess what? The doll starts making weird shit happen to them. Sewing machines running by themselves, doors opening and closing, spontaneous fires….and unlike most ignorant families in the horror genre, the Gordon’s decide to throw out the creepy doll and GTFO. Hooray! Huzzah! Good for them! Too bad the shit just followed them.
Let me just start by saying: I. Hate. Dolls. Ever since growing up being scared senseless by movies like the Puppetmaster series and the Child’s Play series, I just…..NOPE. I don’t know what it is about this particular horror subgenre that gets under my skin. Maybe it’s the nostalgia–the thought of those beloved children’s toys coming to get you. Or maybe it’s because of that one TERRIFYING old doll that my Grandma has sitting in her spare room–the one with one wonky eye. Could be both.
Now, one thing I will say for Annabelle, is that I think they tried TOO hard to make the doll creepy. The dolls appearance slowly degrades and becomes more dirty/scraped up as time passes. I know that’s sort of the norm, but I think it takes away something for me. Something about that pristine little doll staring into space all empty-eyed is much more terrifying that some banged up old P.O.S.
I dunno. Dolls are just…intrinsically creepy. Some hit a little closer to home than others, though. That’s for sure. As far as Annabelle is concerned…yeah. The doll’s pretty unsettling, but I found myself being scared more by the things surrounding the doll. You don’t really get a lot of doll-on-human evil action….well…because the doll’s not actually physically possessed. **COUGH**SPOILER**
I think the main character, Mia, does a fantastic job in this movie. Strange coincidence that her real name is Annabelle…..
I really loved the character of Evelyn (Woodard). She quickly became that character that you just weren’t too sure about. She seemed so nice at first…but she gave off this air of uncertainty. That fine line was ridden very well. I love the role that she comes to play toward the end of the film.
My Rating: Huzzah!
I definitely enjoyed myself when I watched this. This one wasn’t directed by James Wan, but it definitely had the same feel. If you love/hate creepy doll movies, you should enjoy this one.
Where Can I Watch It?: This one’s still on the theater circuit! Catch it while you can, or wait a few months until it comes to video. This one would be perfect to go see tonight on Halloween night! 🙂