From the people who brought you “The Conjuring” comes a movie nothing like “The Conjuring”.
“Annabelle” is a supposed prequel to last year’s breakout horror hit “The Conjuring” based on the mysterious evil powers of a doll that is quickly destroying the life of the young family who happens to own it. Just like this movie is quickly destroying the credibility of the entire horror movie genre. Man, I hated this movie, and much of that has to do with the fact that I thought it’s predecessor was actually an interesting and fresh take on the genre, and this one shows exactly zero of that insight and cleverness.
I mean don’t get me wrong, there are some creepy moments in this flick, and we can call that the best thing about it. I’ll admit there were a few moments that made my hair stand on end or my heart beat quite a bit faster. And I guess if that’s the main reason you go see a horror film then maybe you will be pleased with the result. But it’s just so paint by the numbers.
First off, most the scares are jump scares, the lowest man on the horror movie totem pole. My brother used to run ahead and hide behind corners to jump out and scare me too, it’s not hard to pull off, and ultimately doesn’t serve your story in any way. But even the stuff beyond that all feels pulled from movies you’ve seen before and not even necessarily presented in any kind of new way. Look, the reason ‘The Conjuring” worked wasn’t just because it was scary, it worked because we cared about the people and it had a deeper thematic structure about the true horrors of evil. This has neither of those things. The characters are all cardboard cutouts, who are either in happy idyllic family life mode, or screaming “we’re all going to die” mode. And the themes are non existent, except for a quick message on self sacrifice at the end, which feels as forced and tacked on as I’ve ever seen. But the worst thing about the movie was how fake it all felt. Like some sort of second rate stage play that somehow got put on the big screen. If you show me your representation of evil incarnate and my first thought is about the makeup job or poor cg, you’ve probably already lost your shot at keeping me engaged.
At the end of the day, Annabelle is a frustratingly cliched, boring, and obvious tale that fails to live up to it’s predecessor. Even if it has a few creepy moments, there just aren’t any characters or themes here to doll this one up to anything more than a D+