Derek Winnert


This article was written on 09 Oct 2014, and is filled under Reviews.

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Annabelle ** (2014, Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard) – Movie Review


Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis stars as John Gordon and his expectant wife Mia, to whom the husband gifts an ugly, sinister-looking old doll as a token of his love. This creepy doll is Annabelle from the 2013 hit horror film The Conjuring. Why would anyone have such a horrible thing in their house and in pride of position?

Anyway, then the couple’s home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who attack them and conjure up a malevolent entity.


After a very slow and sticky 15-minute start, Annabelle settles down to being a promising chiller, with a tense, unsettling atmosphere that’s achieved through the two first-rate, naturalistic star performances, some stylish camerawork, and a succession of well-orchestrated jumps and jolts.


But then, an hour into the movie, just when it gets to its third act, and you’re looking forward to its scary build-up to a thrilling horror conclusion, it totally falls apart, and reveals it has no thrilling story to tell at all.

[Spoiler alert] What is all set to be a devil doll movie, along the lines of Child’s Play, turns out to be an Exorcist movie, and the doll Annabelle is revealed as a pointless puppet and prop, and just a McGuffin. You could take it out of the movie and the story would be just the same.

And some key characters (and there aren’t many) are revealed to be there only as props for this new direction for the script. This is really clumsy and unsatisfying.


There’s so little of the movie Annabelle that it’s hardly a horror film at all. It is quite funny, though, for those who like to giggle at lame movies. The woman in front of me in the line to get out of the theatre said that she’d never laughed so much at a horror movie. It’s easy to agree with her that it’s pretty risible when it isn’t being plain dull.

The stylish filming, a successfully achieved eerie atmosphere, a few effective scares and, especially, the acting do help to save it. Horton and Wallis keep you interested in their demonic drama, and Alfre Woodard as Evelyn and Tony Amendola as the priest Father Perez are elegant performance assets.

It’s written as a supposed prequel to The Conjuring by Gary Dauberman, who did uncredited rewrites on Final Destination 5 and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

© Derek Winnert 2014 Movie Review

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