31 Days Of Horror (Day 8) – Annabelle (2014)

Things go bump in the night, others will devour your soul, some will slice, dice eat your heart with a nice glass of Chianti. October has now arrived which can mean only one thing 31 Days of Horror has now arrived again. For the next 31 days, we will dive deep into the catacombs of horror to pick you a movie. Every day will be different ranging from the classics to the weird and wonderful. Many you might have heard of, some will be new to you. There will be personal favourites that you may like, others you may hate but they all will unleash those emotions that make us love horror.

Day 8 Aly Lalji delivers another movie,Annabelle. A movie that might not always be the first choice, but Let Aly explain why this evil doll deserves its place on anyone’s list!

October: A perfect festive season where we build up to Halloween and in that build up, the horror film line up will cash in big bucks. The Babadook is a horror film that has boasted brilliant 5 star reviews, which does it perfect justice for an Aussie Indie horror. However, does it have a chance against Annabelle; the prequel to The Conjuring in terms of box office success? Let’s just say, when last years The Conjuring made on a $20 million budget reels in $317 million, a good judgment to make is that the prequel will certainly be more than a lucrative amount.
The Conjuring fans will finally get to gain knowledge of Annabelle; the creepy doll that was left ominous to us in last year’s box office smash. Many people will compare this to the Chucky franchise; hence director John R.Leonetti, a long time collaborator with James Wan has made some bold decisions to avoid comparisons and engage us with more contrasts. For instance, although Annabelle doesn’t speak or have Chucky’s cheeky humour, she is a doll that does seriously spooky stuff. The notion of less is more is a good belief and in Annabelle’s situation, it works. To see her rocking in a chair, devoid of emotion or to see her still and just staring at you coldly is darn creepy; in fact, Annabelle is a chilling film which presents a brutal beeping monitor of tension.

A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists. What’s interesting is these killers are an homage to Charles Manson’s killer cult, defining the era of the early 70’s perfectly. After the police shoot the hippie murderess with the doll in her hands, blood swirls into the doll’s eyes, causing demonic possession to create Annabelle the cursed doll.

The tension starts to build and the heart begins to race as we enjoy watching Annabelle torment the hero and heroine. Annabelle Wallis (coincidence) is a British actress and fresh face who plays Mia Form, a young housewife that feels the cursed presence of the doll. She does her best to protect her newborn baby girl when she learns the doll wants to possess her baby daughter’s soul. Ward Horton who plays John Form was seen last year in The Wolf of Wall Street, is the husband that wants to protect his wife but fails due to being tied up at work. Our protagonist’s don’t fail us as they keep us enthralled to see whether they make it or not…

Is it better than The Conjuring? Sadly no! But it’s still worth watching. There are many moments where you must brace yourself as the jumpy scares are unpredictable and the images of Annabelle with ghostly silhouettes in her midst is nerve-wracking, but for a second viewing, it won’t be as effective as The Conjuring has been. The conventions of horror and props are all present and work well: The popcorn about to explode, the sewing machine that miraculously turns on by you know who and the rusty sounding pram that appears out of nowhere provide the fans with horrific happiness. As long as you’re prepared that it won’t be good as its predecessor and accept that it’s a horror film that stands alone, you’ll be in for a festive treat. Hollywood mainstream horror still kick’s butt. In your face Babadook!

Aly Lalji

Horror, Mystery | 15 | USA, 2014 | Warner Bros. | Dir.John R. Leonetti | Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard

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