Annabelle (2014) – Movie Review

 annabelle - pic 13

Annabelle (2014)

directed by John R. Leonetti
produced by James Wan
written by Gary Dauberman

Starring:
Annabelle Wallis
Ward Horton
Alfre Woodard


It would be hard in this day and age to get people scared about doll-horror. It’s an often used plot device in horror that makes it difficult to be original with or write something surprising. I think James Wan did a decent job with Dead Silence building creepy suspense. Here he passes the torch to director, John R. Leonetti, with mixed results.

Firstly, this is not a walking, talking doll like Chucky, attacking members of the family with its little plastic hands. Thanannabelle posterkfully, there was more to Annabelle than that. The doll is a vessel that a bad spirit hid in, to remain connected to the earthbound world. At opportune moments the spirit ventures out in order to finish a ceremony that will conjure a demon. There are some very good parts to this film. There is a big scene in the middle were the young mom goes into the basement and the demon captures her in the elevator, then chases her through the building. This scene is classic creepy and suspenseful horror.

The main problem with the film is, it’s never able to recapture that few minutes of suspenseful horror as it attempts to build a climactic ending. The newborn baby is threatened by this ill-willed spirit, but it never seems to get me nervous or anxious. The wife doesn’t have a character that makes me root for her. And lastly, (spoiler) I don’t really believe the neighbor would sacrifice her own life for complete strangers.

While Annabelle has a decent origination story and some exceptional scenes, it fails to become an enthralling horror film. The rest of the film is loaded with newfangled clichés that we’ve now seen too often in films like, The Conjuring, Insidious II, The Haunting in Connecticut, and others. Even the subject of an evil cult was handled better in the simple film, House of the Devil.

ANNABELLE

A decent scene in the middle makes it worth a one time watch for horror fans.

I give it 2.2 scary doll girls out of 5 on the creepy-cult, conjuring scale of sacrificial Satanists

House of the Devil – (2009) – movie review

House of the Devil – (2009) – movie review

House of the Devil is a creepy supernatural thriller that exudes dark atmosphere and suspense. Director, Ti West, writes/directs the film with the feel of 1970’s or early 1980’s films. From the opening title – the film’s title appearing suddenly upon a freeze frame image – to the character development unique to the 1970’s, to it’s occult themes, this film is a successful throwback while displaying originality in concept and story. The film is set in the early 1980’s time period, made evident by payphones, a walkman cassette player, and the automobiles. Two featured songs are dated to early 1980‘s: “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx (1983) and “They Don’t Write em‘/The Break-up Song” (1981) by the Greg Kihn Band.

Samantha Hughes accepts a babysitting job in the countryside for an eccentric couple. The mansion is eerily quiet when the couple departs and Samantha tries to entertain herself during the lingering hours. The only thing on Television is news coverage of the full lunar eclipse event happening that very night. Samantha does not know that the occurrence is linked to her arrival at the home and she will soon be thrown into the spotlight of a supernatural event by satanic worshippers.
 

House of the Devil is an anxious slow-burn, building suspense as discrepancies discovered in the home give Samantha substance to her rising suspicions. The film uses the 1970’s style character development, allowing the viewer to get fully engrossed and empathetic to Samantha’s situation. Samantha, (Jocelin Donahue) a likable character that you hope will survive the ultimately evil plot. This was the first film by Ti West I had seen. Because I liked it so much I proceeded to purchase two of his other films, The Innkeeper and The Roost, which I will review at a later date. If you are a fan of 70’s horror, Hammer films, dark atmosphere and occult themes – or – if you’re just tired of explosions, CGI and all action and no substance in modern movies, you will want to check out House of the Devil.