My favorite thing about last year’s The Conjuring was the opening sequence introducing the story of the Annabelle doll. The short segment on the real story of the doll gave me the chills while also fascinating me.
Like other audience members, I wanted more of Annabelle. I wanted to know where she came from, how she became the vessel of something demonic, even a made up story would be fine with me. My craving for an expanded story was satisfied when I heard that Annabelle was getting the full feature treatment.
Annabelle takes place during the Manson-era back when people didn’t care about locking their doors yet crazy people were willing to take advantage of that. John and Mia Ford are the typical couple living the peaceful life while waiting for the birth of their child. One day John decides to surprise Mia with an antique porcelain doll. They think all is right with the world until one night two malicious cult members attack the couple. In the tussle of defending themselves, blood is spilled and the cult people manage to conjure a demon that latches on to the Annabelle doll.
Mia starts to slowly experience strange things in the home which all points to the presence of the doll.
Now I have to clarify that I was not expecting Annabelle to pull a Chucky and run around with a knife, cursing and endlessly jumping on people though that would have made the movie more funny. I get that the Annabelle is just an object used by a demon but as the central theme of the entire movie, an attempt at giving her a suitable story that involved her more would have more fulfilling. The movie focuses more on Mia and the demon that is out to get her and her baby. For an origins story I was hoping that Annabelle would have more of a role in the movie that is titled after her.
I felt like director John R. Leonetti tried too hard to make Annabelle effectively scary but the end result was chopped bits of other horror movies pieced together. A lot of times I thought I was watching Insidious in the setting of Rosemary’s Baby. There is even a scene that is directly taken from Insidious. It didn’t seem like Annabelle was an essential homage to those films but more of Leonetti’s struggle to make it work.
The world may never know how Annabelle really came to be but I was hoping that the movie would at least give her a gratifying foundation. I didn’t think it did.
I know people are going to go see Annabelle for the same reasons I wanted to see it. The movie delivers on creepy scenes, tense moments and scares but the story itself falls shorts on originality.
If you’re looking to kick off October with this season’s first spooky flick, Annabelle hits theaters tomorrow.