|Why the fuck I would like to have that shit in my house?|
After the huge success of the "Conjuring", someone decided that it was a good idea to show the backstory of "Annabelle", the creepy looking doll in the prelude of James Wan's horror rollercoaster. Although I have to admit I was intrigued by the concept, at the hands of a competent horror director - Carpenter, Wan himself, Craven - "Annabelle" could have made you shit bricks. However, it is just an average b-movie horror ride.
Story: Not much is happening or explained in "Annabelle". The story follows typical and formulaic plot points borrowed from better films with predictable situations and outcomes. Mother is locked away with the baby being helpless somewhere else. Mother is terrified to search the house while following the babie's cries, etc, etc. Nothing is original and for those who are not looking for inspired plot but at least brilliant execution, you will be a bit disappointed.
Characters: There is basically no development for the protagonist duo and they are all dimensional. You would have expect that after the "conjuring" where a nice family was put up front and centre with demonic spirits, filmmakers would try to put more care into who is the victim. Here, sadly this is not the case. Although the duo is not particularly annoying, they are just so blunt and one dimensional. The doctor who is working too much, the fragile and beautiful housewife who is alone in the house all day, etc. Everything is following the cliche and not the tiniest bit of effort is being shown on the screen. Any satelite characters who tend to be more interesting are not given any gravitas at all and that makes you wonder why even bother to write them into the plot?
Direction: Surprisingly John R.Leoneti after the disastrous "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation",you would think that he learnt his lesson. Not really and apparently being director of cinematography for James Wan's films assisted him a lot. You can see clear influence of Wan's style all over "Annabelle". From bizarre close up shots to long steadycam ones. It is a welcome addition in the cluster of modern horror movies where there is crazy editing and quick cuts that do not allow enough atmosphere. Of course that does not mean that the field here is flawless. More on that below.
Scare factor: Does "Annabelle" provide enough scares and creepiness? Yes and no. There are definitely some nice (although cheap) scares with nicely integrated direction (with the music of Joseph Bishara definitely a plus). The close ups of the doll are to die for...but you always feel that Leoneti seems restrained. There is a particularly creepy scene when the demon attacks and you can slightly see it at the bottom of the stairs but Leoneti keeps cutting off as to not scare the viewer away. It would have been great if the camera was steady for at least a minute and let our imagination run wild as to what the outline of the figure looks like. Lots of scenes have potential but they are not using maximum efficiency. And it is a shame because in two or three scares, Leoneti pulls them off nicely.
Annabelle: Why someone would buy such a doll is beyond my comprehension. It is creepy, scary and frankly upsetting seeing that thing. Congrats to the designers of the doll. These are the stuff that nightmares are made off...and it is sad that "Annabelle"does not get the spin off it deserves but a mish-mash of been there, done that.
+ decent direction
+ Bishara's music
+ any scene with Annabelle
+ one-two succesful jump scares
+ kinda likable protagonis duo
- but very blunt and cliche
- not enough "Annabelle"
- not enough tension
- formulaic storyline
- cliche after cliche