12 October 2014

ANNABELLE

ANNABELLE

USA, 2014
Director: John R. Leonetti

6/10











As expected, "Annabelle" is far from being as scary, impressive and amazing as last year's "The Conjuring" (in case you didn't know, it's a direct prequel to "The Conjuring"), and more of a quick cash grab on the popularity of that damn creepy doll. Nevertheless, it's a solid and decently entertaining, slightly old-fashioned horror chiller, telling the highly predictable but still pretty neat story of a young couple that gets terrorized by frightening supernatural occurencies, all seemingly caused by a weird vintage doll...

John R. Leonetti is a terrific cinematographer ("Dead Silence", "Piranha 3D", "Insidious 1+2", "The Conjuring"...), but a quite lousy director - at least, that's what his earlier directorial efforts made me think (the shoddy "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" and the super-boring "The Butterfly Effect 2"). His direction in "Annabelle" is still not exceptional or award-worthy, but definitely stronger and way more effective than in his previous efforts.


Next to a couple of scenes that seem to be ripped off of "Insidious" (couple moves house, sudden appearance of a demon's hideous face...), the movie's weakest spot is its screenplay (Gary Dauberman, "Swamp Devil") which is packed with rather generic or plain uninteresting characters, too many jump scares and lots of worn out horror tropes / horror clich├ęs (rocking chairs, closing doors, vintage baby strollers, satan-worshipping sect, inscrutable priest...).

To my surprise, it all still worked rather well. Certain scenes like the opening or the basement/elevator-sequence are really, really suspenseful, at times even nerve-wracking, a few of the jump scares gave me nightmarish heart attacks (no matter how foreseeable these scares were), and, best of all, they fortunately didn't turn Annabelle into a Chucky-like monster. She's just sitting there, smiling, staring, looking like a freak...


Also worth mentioning: sublime camera work by James Kniest ("Maron"), neat music by regular James Wan collaborator Joseph Bishara, and nice performances by Annabelle Wallis and Alfre Woodard. Overall, "Annabelle" is nothing special or remarkable, but worth a look if you like creepy old-fashioned doll horror.

Wiki ~ Imdb

14 comments:

  1. Excellent review, Maynard! I'll probably give this a look if it's ever available to me. Thanks!

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  2. Ugh, biggest disappointment ever! I was literally BORED while watching Annabelle. And the main characters were so completely uninteresting and had no personality that I didn't care about them or anything that was happening.

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    Replies
    1. Really? I thought it all was decent enough. Nothing special, but enjoyable.

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  3. I've only just bought the DVD of 'The Conjuring'. I still have to see that first. So many movies, so little time!! ;D

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  4. Thanks for this great review, Maynard! I jumped when I saw the trailer for Annabelle, so now having read your review I think it's definitely worth a look. Cheers :D

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    Replies
    1. It's not as great as the trailer, but it's decent enough.

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  5. I actually liked this one just as much as The Conjuring, which isn't to say that I liked this movie better than you, just that I didn't think The Conjuring was anything special. Agreed 100% on that basement scene... it was really nice to have such a solid sequence that, for once, wasn't spoiled in the trailers!

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    1. The Conjuring didn't wanted to be anything special. It just wanted to be a good old old-school haunted house horror flick, that's why it worked so good. Annabelle tried too hard to rip off the basic Conjuring set-up.

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  6. Hopefully catching this one at the weekend :)

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  7. As a confirmed Conjuring fan - I'm sorry I missed this at the theater - but I'll see it sometime!

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    Replies
    1. Lower your expectations and you might enjoy it.

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