The Halloween season is upon us and that means it is time for the yearly onslaught of theatrical releases of horror movies. Possibly being advertised the most — at least here in the UK anyway — is the James Wan produced supernatural horror ANNABELLE. Now, I am a big horror fan, so having the chance to review this on the big screen was right up my street.
“A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.”
A nice and simple premise with nothing too much out of the ordinary to what you would come to expect from the possession/supernatural type horror movies that get released these days. As soon as you sit down to watch ANNABELLE, you notice immediately it has the James Wan stamp all over it, who served as producer on the movie with directing duties carried out by John Leonetti. The style, the sounds, lighting effects and of course the scares all instantly remind you of James Wan’s past work from the likes of INSIDIOUS, DEAD SILENCE and (especially) THE CONJURING, helped with the return of Joseph Bishara who composed the score for the movie.
The movie has a strong start, telling the story of how the Annabelle doll came to be, and it is pretty violent. It’s nice to see some blood flung across some walls again. However, once we get pass the initial part of the movie, it does tend to drag slightly and does become repetitive, which in turn ends up being a pretty predictable movie. Another thing which didn’t help was that I really didn’t connect with the characters, which meant I didn’t really care about them or what ever happened to them throughout the film.
ANNABELLE as a movie serves as good prequel material for THE CONJURING (which if I’m being honest, is all I saw this as), but I could see a possible new franchise being started if ANNABELLE pulls the numbers in at the box office; which it looks like it’s doing. There are a couple of good scares here and there as well as a couple set pieces to build tension, which if I’m being honest had me with my eyes wide open trying not to blink so I didn’t miss anything (the whole “what the hell is that in the shadows” thing has always scared me), but ultimately it’s not a patch on the likes of THE CONJURING. Perhaps if James Wan had directed this, it may have been a little different. I was left thinking it seemed to be more of a serious take on CHILD’S PLAY, which ended up falling a little flat on its face. Was I left disappointed? No, not at all! As a horror fan, we have just been spoiled with a load of similar type of films, so ANNABELLE doesn’t really add anything new to the genre.
If you’re after a half-decent scary possession movie with a creepy doll in it, you won’t go far wrong with ANNABELLE.