to get into the spirit of the season, I went and saw the new movie Annabelle.
I’ll be honest here. I do not like horror movies. They do not do anything for me. I have a friend who does though. So, I took him to see the early premier of Annabelle on Thursday evening. Neither of us was up for a midnight showing as a horror movie is not worth me taking a day off work.
Annabelle is the story of a creepy porcelain doll that showed up in an earlier horror movie entitled, The Conjuring. I have not seen the Conjuring but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything in the movie for not having seen it. The story revolves around a young couple just getting started in California during the Sixties. The wife is pregnant with her their first child and the husband is a young doctor getting ready to start residency. The time period is fixed through glimpses of news programs that the couple watches showing the Manson slayings as they occur.
It turns out that the couples lovely neighbors had a daughter who ran away and joined the hippies. This is the key to the troubles for the couple. The neighbor’s daughter, Annabelle, returns with her boyfriend and murders her parents. They then come to the home of our protagonists and attack them. The young mother-to-be, Mia, is stabbed and the police arrive in time to kill the boyfriend and show that Annabelle has cut her won throat and marked the babies room in blood. A single drop of blood lands on the dolls face and seeps into it’s eye.
It turns out that the crazy couple had been a part of a satanic cult and that they had performed a ritual to summon a demon which wanted a soul. The demon had become attached to the doll as they are creatures of spirit and require a receptacle. What follows is the demon working towards acquiring a single soul.
First, it certainly seems like a lot of effort to go through to get just one soul. I know it is the sixties and there was no internet. But, I have to think there would be a much more efficient way of getting a soul. Second, There was nothing special about the soul the demon wanted. It didn’t have to be pure, innocent, or laced with bunny-love. Any old soul would do.
Oh, I forgot to mention the one caveat. The demon can not take a soul. It has to be freely given. My guess is that demons get some kind of perverse pleasure into tricking people to giving them their souls in exchange for nothing. Which makes sense since they are the personification of evil. Still, a tone of effort for one, not particularly note-worthy soul.
Annabelle starts slow never really picks up the pace. Scattered throughout the movie are neat little gotcha moments that make you jump or wince. It feels like they director was trying to ratchet up the tension as the movie progressed but, for me, it never really connected. When the idea of a demon is presented, everyone seems perfectly fine with it. This stole all the tension that it seemed to be building as the angle of the mother being crazy was layered into the story.
The effects that were used in the movie were good. One of the most powerful effects you have already seen in the trailer. The little girl runs from one room and the door closes. The door opens and it is the older dead women that comes racing into the room. The thing that you don’t get in the trailer is the sound. when the little girl starts running, the sound of her foot steps are that of a larger adult which made for a really freaky scene. The demon effect was also creepy. It is done as a being of darkness the few times it appears. The most creepy is when it lifts the doll in a semi-darkened room. You do not see anything until there is a close up on the dolls face with the demons face right behind it. This made me jump.
I give Annabelle a resounding, Meh. It has a few shocking moments but not all that scary. The acting was very underwhelming and I hated the appearance of the magical person of color trope. If you like horror movies, I would recommend seeing it at a matinee or waiting for video so that you can watch it at home, alone, in the dark.