I saw Annabelle last night and I must say I was actually quite impressed.
I was really disappointed with The Conjuring, the acting was good and I liked the pairing of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren but it just wasn’t scary. I really liked the trailer for Annabelle so I was excited to see what direction the film would take.
Directed by James Wan and starring Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton, Annabelle is the story of a doll, the spirit of a crazed cult member and demons! This is no Chucky, Annabelle does not go running around the house trying to bump people off. This is much more in the Insidious vein, which pleases me no end.
Mia and John are a young couple expecting their first child and one night they are attacked by two cult members (echoing the Manson murders which are mentioned on their television during an early scene in the film) One of the cult members is the daughter of their neighbour and she takes a shining to one of Mia’s dolls in the nursery, the eponymous Annabelle. The cult member is shot as she attacks Mia and she dies with the doll in her arms.
Mia is hurt during the attack and doesn’t want to return to the house, some creepy events culminate in a house fire so the couple move to an appartment building. Things get worse for poor Mia from here on in.
The whole film has a love letter to Rosemary’s Baby vibe, the stroller in the street, the main character is called Mia, the apartment – all nice touches.
Much like in Rosemarys Baby there are moments where Mia questions her own sanity, she knows the strange things happening are real but why are they happening? This is one of the slight letdowns of the film. Too much explanation, and overcomplicted explation at that.
All you really need to know that the spirit of the female cult member is using Annabelle as a conduit, the cult raised a demon and that demon demands a soul.
The scares in Annabelle are of an Insidious nature, infact I remember thinking this is what I wanted from Insidious 2. One of the best scares was given away in the trailer but that scare was what made me say yes! I’ll definately watch this!
All the horror clichés are here:
Priest – check!
Satanic Cults – check!
Wise old lady who knows more than she let’s on – check!
Nods to classic horror – check!
But despite the clichés Annabelle has a lot of good scares and some good actors. The wonderful Alfre Woodard appears as local bookshop owner Evelyn who makes friends with Mia and owns the local bookshop. From the moment she shows up you know Evelyn is going to be important and Tony Amendola is great as the local priest.
Annabelle Wallis does a good job as Mia, she’s vulnerable but curious, scared but strong enough to fight to protect her baby, she was very likeable in the role.
Annabelle is out in cinemas now and if you liked Insidious, The Conjuring and of course Rosemary’s Baby you might just like this as much as I did.
You can watch the trailer here if you haven’t already seen it – Annabelle Trailer
The doll used in the film was at the screening and we were offered the chance to have our picture taken with Annabelle. She looked just as creepy in the ..wood? It was especially fun when one of her hands fell out of position – everyone jumped!