Annabelle Blu-ray Review
2013’s THE CONJURING was a very effective horror movie with genuine scares surrounding a true story case from paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the highlights of the film was the opening, briefly involving a horrifically scary doll named Annabelle. After THE CONJURING’s success, the studio fast tracked a movie surrounding the film’s strongest supporting character, ANNABELLE. Unfortunately, as a leading lady, ANNABELLE loses all the mysterious intrigue and worse yet, becomes far less frightful.
ANNABELLE follows a young married couple who recently found out that they were expecting a child. As a gift, John (Ward Horton) gets his wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) a brand new (very freaky looking) doll for her continually growing (very freaky looking) collection. But before their baby could be born, their home is invaded by a couple of cult members. While they were unsuccessful in murdering John, Mia and their unborn child, one did manage to somehow get a demon latched onto the doll following her death. Sadly John and Mia mistake the weird things that are happening, to the house being haunted rather than a demon attached to their doll. What follows are repeated events of Mia and her newborn child being put in harms way while John is away at work.
The props person who created Annabelle the doll should be given top billing. Granted, the story is roughly based in truth, but the entire film’s fear factor relies heavily on looking at an inanimate doll. Here also lies, ANNABELLE’s biggest problem. Through most of the picture Annabelle is not doing anything other than being in the frame. The audience is supposed to be terrified because they know the doll is scary looking. However, the doll never moves or does anything. The filmmakers wanted to stay true to the statement that dolls and objects technically cannot be possessed, so instead of ever having Annabelle move, they occasionally show a demon or a ghost like image of the cult member who died over the doll. For some reason, these images are never as frightening as the doll itself, but the doll never really moves to actually provide scares. Thus, ANNABELLE is a horror movie without horror.
Completely underutilizing talented actors in the usual generic supporting horror movie roles, Alfre Woodard (State of Affairs) plays a concerned friend and Tony Amendola (THE LEGEND OF ZORRO) plays a helpful priest. Everything in this film seems like a waiting game with little payoff. It doesn’t take long, to realize that the direction of the film and the suspense created from a truly creepy looking doll doesn’t have enough legs to get through an entire feature film, making 99 minutes feel like an eternity.
ANNABELLE is an origin story to THE CONJURING’s scariest supporting character. Writer Gary Dauberman and director John R. Leonetti (Cinematographer for THE CONJURING) don’t have a lot of experience and unfortunately it’s noticeable. The ending seems half heartedly thrown together in predictable fashion. Characters make foolish decisions and the film cheaply uses a child in attempt to ramp up the danger factor. Relying so heavily on the image of a doll, in terms of story and scares, ANNABELLE doesn’t go much beyond the movie poster.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.40:1) A clean and vibrant picture.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Decent audio, but like most horror films, the music and effects are much louder than the dialogue.
The Curse of Annabelle (5:29): The cast and crew discuss some of the real life, creepy unexplainable events surrounding the film.
Bloody Tears of Possession (5:32): A detailed look at the importance and difficulties behind the long shot early in the film.
Dolls of the Demon (4:03): Distressing several dolls for a specific scene.
A Demonic Process (4:58): The origins and makeup process of the demon who is played by composer
Deleted Scenes (20:35): Eight unnecessary scenes wisely cut.