I was and still am a gigantic fan of The Conjuring which I believe to be one of the best horror movies in recent years. Everything about the movie worked… it relied on simplicity, it had a creepy atmosphere, and I actually cared about the characters involved, making me emotionally invested as well.
Now the creepy doll from The Conjuring has her own movie. Annabelle, in her years before The Conjuring, is bought by a couple expecting their first baby because, apparently, she’s a valued collector’s item. I’m not sure why she would be… I mean, have you SEEN the thing? Why in the name of Mattel would ANYONE knowingly and purposefully buy an Annabelle doll and put it in a baby’s room? It’s like they WANT their kid to grow up a nervous wreck.
Annabelle is possessed by the soul of a deranged woman and sets out to claim the soul of the new baby and it doesn’t look like there is anything anyone can do to stop her.
Except maybe lock her in a glass cabinet.
In no way, shape or form is this movie anywhere close to being a worthy follow-up to The Conjuring. It is not that scary, it is boring as hell, and the characters are among the most wooden I have ever witnessed in a major motion picture.
Remember how you cared about the family from The Conjuring? Remember how you sympathized with their money problems, the dad’s work problems, the mother’s stress, the kid’s frustration and fear? Remember all that? Remember how you emotionally identified with them and reacted when something bad happened because you honestly didn’t want to see any harm come to them?
Well, forget all that and say hello to Mia and John, two of the most boring people on the planet. These people look like they stepped right out of Hitler’s wet dream and have the personality of Formica. It’s almost like someone watched a parody of the 1950’s and then wrote the characters with that in mind.
I didn’t care about these people, I didn’t care about their nearly absent struggles (Oh, John thinks that being a doctor is SO hard!) and they could have been dragged screaming into Annabelle’s gaping mouth which burned with the fires of hell and damnation and I wouldn’t have blinked.
Already, Annabelle has misfired and never recovers.
Of course, the fact that it’s not very scary doesn’t help either. Sure, there’s a couple of times when the movie shows something genuinely creepy looking, but none of it sticks in your mind. This movie script smacks of lazy story-telling and cheap scares. None of it is very original and none of it is very interesting.
Annabelle is predictable, dull, and has a strange way of saving boring white characters by sacrificing minorities that I wouldn’t call “offensive,” just… off.
Overall, though, Annabelle commits that cardinal sin that no horror movie should commit: It’s boring. Tedious, predictable, kind of stupid, overall as dull as watching blood dry on the wall, and completely unnecessary. If The Conjuring as a refresher in what one should do when making a scary movie, Annabelle reminds us what not to do.