Saturday, January 31, 2015

Annabelle Movie Review – Be Careful Who Your Neighbors Are

Runtime: 99 minutes
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Rating: R
Director: John R. Leonetti

Remember in The Conjuring how the Warrens talked briefly about, and the film briefly showed, them dealing with a haunted doll? Well, just in case you've never seen Chucky before, you can watch Annabelle and see a haunted doll movie.

First, we meet two young women and a young man talking about a haunted doll that one of the girl's mom gave to her. We then jump to the past. Mia and John are a young couple living in a small bungalow. He's a new doctor, and she stays at home because that's what pregnant woman did in the 1960s. John brings home a truly ugly doll, but it's okay because it turns out that it's one Mia's been looking for.

One night a few days later, Mia wakes after hearing a strange noise next door. We briefly see the neighbors being killed before she wakes John. John rushes over and comes back covered in blood, urging her to call for help immediately. When Mia goes back in the house, she finds a man and a woman waiting for her. The two start to attack her, and she gets stabbed right before the police arrive. The woman locks herself in the nursery and kills herself, letting her blood drain into the doll.

John gets a new job, and since Mia has a brain, she refuses to go back to their former home. They move into a new apartment. They also learn that the murderers were the daughter of the neighbors and her boyfriend. Though she asked him to throw the doll away and he did, the doll turns up in one of their boxes. Mia then makes the unfortunate mistake of letting the doll stay in their new apartment.

Before long, she realizes that there is something wrong with the doll. She keeps hearing noises and footsteps when no one is there and discovers that someone keeps watching over her baby girl. The weird activity eventually leads her to turn to Evelyn, the owner of a local bookstore, for help in bringing an end to the paranormal activity.

As someone who didn't enjoy The Conjuring, I was surprised at how much I wanted to see Annabelle. Not only do I love horror movies, but I'm also a big fan of ghost stories. Unfortunately, Annabelle came across as just a bland and somewhat generic, maybe even formulaic, horror movie.

Part of it may be because I have very little faith in the Warren family, and part of it might be because I've read a little about the original doll. Rather than being this monstrosity, which you have to admit is weird to give to a pregnant woman, the original doll was a Raggedy Anne doll. I don't know about you, but experiencing all this weird stuff with a typical doll would scare me a lot more than something that looks like it's possessed would.

On the plus side, I'm a fan of mid-century modern things, and I loved seeing the cars, furniture, and decorations in this movie. Sadly, that is about the only thing I'll take away from it because I thought the movie was pretty forgettable.

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