The Horror Honeys: Don't be scared, it's just a doll...

Don't be scared, it's just a doll...

A Supernatural Honey New Release Review by Suzanne

Annabelle (2014)

Here at The Horror Honeys it’s no real secret that we're not all onboard the James Wan bandwagon. Personally, I don’t harbor the same level of hatred as some of the other ladies. I genuinely enjoyed Insidious and, after a second viewing of Dead Silence, I warmed to that as well. But let’s be honest, sticking to the same formula movie after movie gets REALLY old. Annabelle is no exception and just because Wan didn’t write and direct doesn’t give him a free pass on this. Fortunately, I went into this with bargain basement expectations. It truly had nowhere to go but up. At least, that’s what I hoped.

Mia, a young housewife, and John, a medical resident, basically, an all-American couple, await the birth of their first child. John gives Mia a giant, creepy, antique doll to complete her collection of giant, creepy, antique dolls. Seriously, this chick has more dolls than Madame Alexander. Members of a satanic cult kill their next door neighbors and invade Mia and John’s house as well. One of the cult members is Annabelle Higgins and, with her death, she becomes one with the doll.

In typical fashion, the manifestations happen slowly as appliances turn on and off at will. Mia and John try to get rid of the doll for the bad memory she evokes; not because they think she’s possessed. She, of course, returns, but the couple, un-phased by that feat, decide to keep her, even though she looks like she’s been to Hell and back. The violence escalates and they begin the fight for their baby’s soul. 

*yawn*

I have some major problems with the way this film is marketed. The producers boast there is no CGI, which is admirable, but when you’re marketing a movie around a doll, the doll should do something, but the doll does absolutely nothing. She doesn’t blink or move her head and if you’re preparing yourself for a midget, dressed in a doll costume, running around a la Chucky, well, that would just be silly. The doll is merely something the spirit of Annabelle can attach itself to. While Annabelle does do her fair share of terrorizing this poor family, there is something far more sinister itching for soul to take. It would be more appropriate to have called this The Conjuring and that will make a TON of sense if you pay to see this.

Let’s be clear: this is NOT a prequel to The Conjuring. If you remember, the whole point of Annabelle at the beginning of that movie was to introduce Ed & Lorraine Warren. The doll had nothing to do with the “fact” the film was based on, nor was it integral to the story in any way. I guess you would call this a spin-off of sorts. In fact, the movie begins pretty much where The Conjuring does, replaying the two nurses discussing the doll’s malevolence with Ed & Lorraine Warren, although you don’t see them.

Worst collection EVER
Annabelle is well acted, the characters are sympathetic, it looks great, and the special effects are simple and practical. On the surface, there is nothing overtly wrong with it and you probably won’t hate it. Hell, I didn’t even hate it, but I’m over the creepy doll stories, predictable jump scares, and shadow demons. There isn’t an original or surprising moment in the entire film. Ultimately, I left the theater feeling nothing, which I suppose is better than the anger I presumed I would feel. I’ve seen far worse horror films in my lifetime, but there is so much more out there that is superior, even if it’s not as easily accessible. If you listened to our last podcast, we talk about exactly that.

So do yourself (and us) a favor this October. Watch your favorites, your traditions, but try something new, something out of your comfort zone. You’ll be a better horror fan for it.

The Supernatural Honey's Annabelle...shhh
Oh, and, if you don’t mind, please don’t tell my “Annabelle” doll that I’m tired of creepy doll stories. I really don’t want to piss her off. You know, just in case.

Supernatural Honey Rating: 2.5 basement demons out of 5