Last year James Wan’s The Conjuring left an indelible fear. Perhaps, one of the most frightening haunted house films in the recent years. Let’s admit it, we still check the top of our cupboards and the dark corners of our rooms before sleeping. Just in case, you know.
The trailer of Annabelle created a lot of stir among the horror movie fans. The demonic doll from The Conjuring got her own feature. But, the film didn’t live up to its much-hyped trailer. Written by Gary Dauberman, directed by John R. Leonetti and produced by James Wan, Annabelle is blunt and un-scary.
Set in the 1970s, the film traces the lives of John (Ward Horton) and his expectant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis). After satanic cultist attacks their neighbor, the couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences.
The factor that worked well with The Conjuring was the element of surprise. Yes, it had the same old creaky doors and ghosts dressed in white, but James Wan gave us a fresh perspective. Jump-scares are quintessential elements in a horror film but in Annabelle, most of the shots are predictable. In one scene, when Mia is looking under the closed door, it’s obvious that something’s going to pop up from above the crack of the door. And voila! The Annabelle doll falls into view with the random orchestral boom.
Also, dumb decisions in horror films are quite common. For example, when Mia and John realize that the doll is possessed, John throws it in the trash. Later, when they move to a new apartment, the couple find the doll (all dirty and bashed up) in a box while unpacking. And guess what Mia does? She sets it right back on the shelf!
The performances of the actors are also not convincing enough. Both the lead actors, Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis, give mediocre performances. Annabelle Wallis as Mia did nothing much other than panicking and screaming in most of the scenes. Ward Horton seems too relaxed to be in a horror film.
Why should you watch the film?
Even with the dry bloodless horror, Annabelle effectively uses shadows and lighting techniques to give a feel of the menacing danger. John R. Leonetti who was also the cinematographer for The Conjuring and Insidious, makes clever use of the wide angles and the special effects. Some of the scenes might give the faint-hearted sleepless nights. But, if you are genuinely willing to get scared, you can give Annabelle a miss.