'Annabelle' fails to build both characters and atmosphere, and only resorts to cheap jump scares you see coming from a mile away. The only saving grace is the music
Director: John Leonetti
Cast: Annabelle Wallis
Last year, James Wan unleashed varying degrees of terror upon us in The Conjuring. Not only did the film wet the trousers of its audiences but also set the box office cash registers ringing. It didn’t take very long for the studio to commission a sequel and a spinoff. Since the former is still a year away, we get the latter served up first — and the results are not very good.
Annabelle is not directed by James Wan, and it shows in every single far-from-frightening frame of the film. Neither is it written by Leigh Whannell and that shows as well every time a cliché pops up, which, by the way, happens a gazillion times. What shows the most is that the movie is made by the same studio, only to rake in some quick moolah without putting in any significant effort.
The film chronicles the doll that was seen in The Conjuring, and if you have seen the trailers, you know everything that happens in the movie. A crazy cult couple try to attack innocent people, the crazy lady dies, and her soul enters the doll’s body. Well, that’s the oldest and hoariest plot that has sort of been parodied in the Chucky films. As long as the insane cult members are present, things seem interesting but barely 15 minutes into the film, they disappear from the plot. The movie tries to connect with The Conjuring a few times, and even ends with the iconic shot at the museum as seen in that movie, but that’s all the film does — pander to the audience the way the Paranormal Activity sequels did.
The gross absence of a solid story could have been forgiven if there were at least a few scary scenes. But this movie is as scary as a sunflower in a park! Barring one scene that involves a slamming door, the jump scares are, well, pretty lame. Wan’s films benefit from not just good characters, but also from great atmospheric buildup. However, Annabelle fails to build both characters and atmosphere, and only resorts to cheap jump scares you see coming from a mile away. The only saving grace is the music by Joseph Bishara but it’s undone by the sheer lack of ingenuity on screen. And since this is not even an ‘R’ rated movie, there is little blood and gore, thereby rendering the film meaningless for horror film buffs.