Saturday, December 12, 2015

Annabelle (2014)

Director: John R. Leonetti
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O'Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger, Geoff Wehner, Gabriel Bateman, Shiloh Nelson

Spin-off of The Conjuring tells the spooky tale of the doll known as Annabelle. In '69, a young couple expecting their first child hear a noise from their neighbours home. As John (Horton) investigates, Mia (Wallis) is attacked by the neighbours missing daughter in what is soon revealed to be part of a satanic sacrifice. After the police arrive, Mia witnesses the daughters death, leaving one drop of blood on the face of the child's doll in her arms.

I love films like this purely because it doesn't rely on special effects but old fashioned film techniques and genuine suspense without overdoing the gore factor. It leaves a great deal up to the audiences imagination, though its repetitiveness doesn't work in its favour and the steam runs out by the end. Directed by Leonetti, who filmed The Conjuring, it certainly excels in moody tracking shots of the Annabelle doll. There's also plenty of references to the '68 horror classic Rosemary's Baby.

Wallis and Horton are both fine but bring very little pizzaz while it's always wonderful to see Woodard, even in such an obvious role, as is the staunch expertise of Amendola as the Church Priest. It also benefits from Joseph Bishara's scoring; he also appears as the 'demonic figure'. This is one current horror series that is getting it right and as long as they keep it fresh and not overdo things, ala Paranormal Activity, there will be plenty of scary instalments to come.


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