Annabelle is the latest in a long line of horror films surrounding haunting and possession that will leave fans of The Conjuring (of which ‘Annabelle’ is the prequel) feeling extremely unsatisfied this Halloween.
The prequel is about the hideous looking doll, Annabelle, who has been tracked down by John (Ward Horton) for his wife and expectant mother, Mia (Annabelle Wallis). We are told that she really wanted this particular doll but are never told why and this is not the only thing that is left unexplained by Director John R. Leonetti and Producer James Wan (such as how the dolls makes it from the West to East coasts of the States between the two films?!).
Set in a suburb of Los Angeles in 1967, the couple is awoken one night by the sound of their neighbour being murdered and the two soon find themselves in a struggle with the two satanic cult members. Mia is stabbed by one of them before the police shoot him dead. His female accomplice then commits suicide whilst cradling the porcelain doll.
Things quickly become repetitive when the doll begins to mysteriously move from room to room before being returned by the couple and dismissed as “strange” or “weird”. A house fire causes them to blame the doll for the strange goings-on in their home and so they throw it away for a second time, oddly only for it to return to the house. The couple move home but can’t manage to shake off the unnerving occurrences.
The film follows all of the typical clichés of the genre making you jump a few times, but doesn’t manage really to scare the viewer. Annabelle lacks depth in the plot from beginning to end as it’s based solely on the idea of the doll being possessed whilst little consideration is given to a deeper idea behind it all or any subplot. A lot of the film feels as though they are recycled ideas from other films, and with the doll given centre stage (in contrast to The Conjuring) it’s reminiscent of a poor version of Chucky in the Child’s Play films minus the fact that Annabelle doesn’t speak.
Although there have been announcements that The Conjuring 2 is set for release in 2015, let’s hope the script-writers put more effort into that than their latest attempt as they look to cash-in on the success of the 2013 film. Annabelle gives the impression that it is either the work that a frustrated script-writer couldn’t weave in to the more complex plot of The Conjuring, or that it’s a tenuous link as the producer tries to generate a new film franchise.
Annabelle is in cinemas now.