The haunted doll may haunt us every night in our dreams but in “Annabelle“, it does nothing much to scare us. Yes, unfortunately “Annabelle”, the brainchild of James Wan’s “The Conjuring” couldn’t do any better than the original creation but we don’t blame them. Perhaps it just didn’t live up to the hype and the cast’s lack of acting skills have made it a little unbearable to watch.
But hear us out first! The much-anticipated horror film “Annabelle” is not everything we expected it to be but the production did have quite a few surprises for us. On top of that, we were glad that the trailer didn’t give away too much of its storyline because there were some rather “pleasant” surprises in the film.
The film began by providing a little backstory about Annabelle, as told by the nurses who claimed the doll was possessed by a spirit. This provides a solid base for “Annabelle” which bring us back to the days before the doll was possessed, or rather manipulated by a demon.
Set in the 1960s, the origin story of “Annabelle” revolves around a young married couple, Josh Gordon (played by Ward Horton) and Mia Gordon (played by Annabelle Wallis) who has recently moved in a new house after Mia got pregnant.
And because Mia is pregnant with their unborn child, John the weirdly cheerful husband decided to surprise her with a present. No prizes for guessing but yes, it’s that vintage doll in the trailer. But who in the right mind would want to keep that creepy-looking doll as part of their collection? Exactly. We were surprised that John didn’t even feel a slight bit worry or scared about the doll because that doll just gives off a creepy vibe. The couple seemed unfazed about the doll and apparently Mia was even thrilled to receive the doll as part of her doll collection.
What seemed like a peaceful night spun into a horror spiral when the neighbour next door was killed by their demon-worshipping daughter, Annabelle Higgins and her crazy boyfriend. And you guessed it, the crazy couple managed to invade their house and almost killed Mia before the police arrives on scene. For some unknown reasons, Annabelle locked herself in the baby’s nursery room and slitted her throat while holding Mia’s new doll.
Why, oh why? At first, you’d assume that it’s just “crazy people doing crazy stuff”.
Moreover, when someone dies in your house, the first thing any sane person would do is to move out or get someone to clear the bad energy in that place. Well, Josh and Mia did sort of clear the bad energy away by throwing the doll that was soaked with Annabelle’s bad blood, but clearly that wasn’t enough.
After they moved out from their old home, the doll managed to find its way back to their new home. Although Josh found it a little unsettling that the doll is back on the shelf, Mia insisted that the doll should be placed in the baby’s nursery. She shouldn’t have because soon after, she began experiencing a series of weird paranormal events that brought harm to the whole family – especially her baby.
What kind of paranormal events, you ask? Oh, you know, just a random kid who suddenly appears behind Mia and stare at her creepily from behind. What, that doesn’t scare you enough? The next scene will.
In fact, this wasn’t the only jump-scare scene because at one point, there was an elevator scene that “elevated” the film to its climax. We won’t spoil it for you but the elevator scene almost felt like an Easter egg in the film. There were a few close-ups on the doll as well that may create a lasting memory for the audience as the doll stares right into your eyes.
Although “Annabelle” has a similar running theme as “The Conjuring”, the latter seemed to have created more genuine scares than “Annabelle”. It almost felt like this film was a sloppy work of a director who had limited time to revise or correct problems. It did give us some good scares and potential nightmares but the result was rather unsatisfying as we crave for more horror elements.
“Annabelle” hits Malaysian cinema on October 3, 2014 and is directed by John R. Leonetti and produced James Wan of “The Conjuring”.