I tend to start of any horror movie review with the caveat that I was sold on the film by a persuasive trailer. Annabelle is the exception to this general rule. I am a huge fan The Conjuring; the film which introduced us to one of the scariest looking dolls of all time. Thank you very much James Wan.
I wasn’t expecting Annabelle to be on par with The Conjuring but I was expecting a good time at the cinema.
PLOT: After being attacked by an occult worshipping couple heavily pregnant Mia (Annabelle Wallis) begins to notice strange happenings around her home. Mia and her husband John (Ward Horton) move house and find that whatever entity has attached itself to their family has followed them….and is after the soul of their child. END PLOT
The plot of Annabelle follows the familiar story of a young mother being haunted and fighting to protect her child while the father is either absent or a cynic. It is almost easier to forgive overplayed tropes in horror films as they can be considered the backdrop to what the audience wants – jumps and scares.
I am not a fan of gore so the lack of it sat well with me. It is just a shame that the jumps and scares were few and far between. There were a few decent set pieces with the scene in the basement and the chase scene on the stairwell that followed it being the best of the bunch. The problem was the tension was lacking, my senses weren’t on edge and my eyes weren’t frantically searching every corner of the screen for the next big scare. The film was just missing that special something to elevate it above average. That something was probably James Wan.
Annabelle Wallis was fine in the paranoid-but-proved-to-be-correct-in-the-end motherly role but Ward Horton’s wooden husband was the weak link as he was devoid of any personality whatsoever. The character lacked the Patrick Wilson-ness required to make that role work.
The Annabelle legend is grounded and the doll itself is creepy so the ingredients were there to make a solid horror film, and it did. It is just unfortunate that the act it had to follow was The Conjuring. Annabelle is good and worth a look in the cinema but I am writing this with one eye on my Insidious DVD. It gets 6.5/10.