Supernatural thriller ‘Annabelle’ haunts the big screen

Published by adviser, Author: Jimmy Graner - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 9, 2014
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The 2013 release of “The Conjuring” was by far the scariest movie released in the last few years. Because horror movies are rarely taken seriously in the film industry, young adults are the primary source for revenue, so in order to succeed, the plot must follow a typical ‘scary movie’ pattern, and provide just enough scares to be considered frightening.

The public is too used to the ‘scary movie’ pattern, and the only reason we sit in a dark movie theater for hours is to feel scared even after we leave the theatre. If a horror movie can achieve this feeling, then the film has done its job, and can now be considered a successful horror movie.

Annabelle is a supernatural horror film directed by John Leonetti, the same person in charge of cinematography for its prequel, “The Conjuring.” Early on, we’re introduced to a young couple, Mia and John Gordon. The couple is waiting patiently for the birth of their healthy baby girl. One evening, John surprises his wife with a tall doll named “Annabelle” to add to her collection of dolls. Several hours later, the couple is attacked in the middle of the night by an estranged couple from a satanic cult. After several violent and suspenseful scenes, we quickly learn that that soul of the satanic wife is passed along into the Annabelle doll. From here, the young couple faces a disturbing journey as they are followed and harassed by a bloodthirsty demon, looking for a new soul to feast on, and the couple must figure out a way to protect their newborn baby.

A small cast lets the audience focus on the main antagonists of the film, instead of tossing and turning with the supporting characters. Relying solely on the haunting of the wife, we turn our heads the other way when it comes to scenes with the husband. A brief break from intensity is always a plus, though. 

I had a hard time keeping up with the idea that the doll was supposed to be possessed. Other than sitting around on rocking chairs, showing up randomly in unbeknownst spots, and just looking overall creepy, the doll isn’t a solid antagonist, like in the movie “Chucky.” It isn’t until about halfway through the film that we actually see the demon that’s possessing the doll. I’ve seen some disturbing horror movie demons over the years, but nothing this unpleasant in terms of scary.

On a positive note, the wide-angle camera shots provide the audience a glimpse into the near future. In films like “The Strangers” and “The Sixth Sense,” we are able to predict the scares before they happen. We live for that moment when we are sitting in our seats saying to ourselves, “Don’t go in there, you’re going to die.” In addition, plausibility in terms of actuality can be stretched a little further due to the fact of unnatural happenings. Why and how stuff occurs is the whole point of the ghoulish category.

Overall though, the spin-off prequel to “The Conjuring” surpasses its idea of a haunted doll and transforms into more of a sadistic haunting. To think something like this actually happened is beyond me. I’m just glad I didn’t get into the whole doll-collecting trend. 

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