Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Horrors of 2014: Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle (2014)
Director:  John R. Leonetti
Starring: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, and Alfre Woodard
Running Time: 99 min

  I was very excited when I heard that there was going to be a movie about the Annabelle doll.  I really enjoyed the Conjuring and the doll that they had created as the Annabelle doll was so creepalicious that I'm expecting some serious toy terror and devilish doll destruction.  So, I cleaned my room, washed my hands and I can't wait to pull that string and play.

  It's 1969, John and Mia Form are expecting a baby and enjoying another church service.  After the service, they go home and talk to their neighbours about how excited they are about having a baby and how they haven't chosen a name for their child yet.  After a little chit chat, John and Mia head over to their home and feel guilty, like most good Catholics do in1969, about talking to their neighbours about the baby because they know that there elderly neighbours only daughter has just ran away from home and joined a satanic cult.  Isn't that always the way.  John tells Mia not to worry about it and they go inside and lock the door. (click)
  That night, Mia is listening to the news about the Mason family murders and John is frustrated because there is to much noise to concentrate on his doctor work.  He snaps at Mia about his whole life sucking, which upsets Mia and to apologize John says he's sorry and gives her a really big ugly creep ass doll that she has been looking for, for her collection.  Mia is happy again and they go to bed.  However that night, Mia hears screams from next door and sends John to go check it out.  She wanders outside to see what's going on and John runs out of the neighbours house covered in blood.  He screams at her to call an ambulance and she runs inside to make the call.  Unfortunately, the killers have also come next door and they try to attack the pregnant Mia.  She scream and John runs in to help her but he's too late because the female assailant as already stabbed Mia in da baby gut.  Luckily the police arrive and chase the female assailant into the baby's room.  The police give her a couple seconds to let herself surrender and then gun her down beside the crib while she is holding the creepy doll John just got for Mia. 1960's justice!
  After Mia is rushed to the hospital and find out that the baby is okay from the stabbing, the police tell John and Mia that the perps were their neighbour's daughter Annabelle and her friend/husband/bready guy, who had joined a satanic cult, The Devil's Ram, and were performing some sort of ritual killing but not to worry because everything is fine now, their dead.
  So John and Mia go home and just to make sure everything is fine, Mia forces John to throw away the creepy doll that Annabelle was holding when she was violently murdered in there baby's nursery.  He dumps the doll in the trash and heads back inside to his double homicide home.  That's the end of that.  Unfortunately it isn't and things aren't looking up for the Forms because Mia's cable seems to be going out all the time in the bedroom and then a huge mysterious fire destroys their kitchen.  Once again, Mia is brought to the hospital after the fire and when John arrives, he meets his new daughter, Leah.  Mia tells John that she never wants to go back to that evil house again and John agrees.
  So they move to Pasadena and live in an incredibly large apartment.  Just as they are finishing unpacking, Mia discovers that the creepy doll is in one of the boxes.  John tells her that he's sure that he threw that out and tries to take it from Mia but she says it's all right and the doll that the satanic cult woman was holding when the police riddled her with bullets can stay in their baby's nursery.  Good times, great memories.
  Unfortunately, things start going wonky at this new place too, the neighbour kids giving Mia drawings of Leah being hit by a semi, the ghost of Annabelle is chasing Mia around the apartment when John is at work and at one point the doll, finally, hovers in the air and a demon is hiding behind it and scares the crap out of Mia.  So Mia puts on her detective hat, makes friends with the used bookstore lady, who happens to live in her building and reads "Demon Possession for Dummies", then she is ready to battle this evil spirit head on.  Can Mia and John escape the demons wrath and save their family or will this demon feed on their souls and reincarnate itself into the body of Leah?

 I think that there was one thing that this movie was really lacking for me and it was featuring the Annabelle doll.  This film had a whole bunch of horror type stuff like Satanists, ghosts of satanists, and demons but the doll didn't really do anything creepy, expect for the hovering but that was more demon inspired.  Anyway, I think that writer Gary Dauberman (Blood Monkey, Swamp Devil) and director John R. Leonetti (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Butterfly Effect 2) really missed the mark here by not focusing on the principle character, which is Annabelle the doll.  Going into this, I was expecting something similar to "Child's Play", "Dolly Dearest" or "Dolls" but the doll doesn't do anything and it's really disappointing. It's the evilest doll in the universe and doesn't do shit.
  Additionally, I would nominate the Mia character as perhaps the worst mother of the year.  I don't know where the baby is half the time when she is out playing Nancy Drew but she ain't around her.  Also, when she does come to the conclusion that the demon may be after her baby, she leaves it in front of giant bookshelf because she heard a noise and of course the spirits take advantage of this and locks her in the nursery.  It's so dumb, this character makes such bad decisions throughout the film and it loses all believability by the end of the film.
  Which I thought the ending was a mess, heavy handed and didn't really make that much sense.  The couple seems to have given up by the end and another character that hardly knows them pays for their bad decision making.  I think it's suppose to be heartfelt and uplifting moment but is so far from reality that it just came off frustrating and lazy.

  I thought the doll was really creepy looking and who ever designed the look of the doll did a nice job.  However it brings up the question, who would ever buy that creepy ass doll and want it in their home.  The "real" Annabelle doll was a "Ragedy Anne" doll and it's interesting to think that something so innocent could have such an evil and malevolent presence trapped inside it.  As well you could understand how that doll could be passed around without being notice, but the Annabelle doll in the film, would not get inside my house.  I would decline the gift immediately. No Thanks.

  I found this film very disappointing and was expecting a lot more out of it.  It's a by the numbers film that doesn't understand what people are paying to see, which is the doll.  Whether the doll came from a satanic cult, a voodoo priest or washed up on the shores from the ocean, it doesn't matter because people just want to see that doll messing people up and that doesn't happen here.  So if you're looking for a doll horror movie about everything but the doll, then you can bring this one up to the till.

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