Thursday, October 23, 2014


by Alyssa Couball, Writing Intern (with Germar Derron)

John and his expectant wife, Mia, live the dream in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, while John attends medical school. John buys Mia a gift - a beautiful and rare vintage doll.  But, Mia’s delight ends soon when their home is invaded. Then, the couple is violently attacked by two members of a Satanic cult. Splattered blood and total fear are not the only things the couple leave behind. The cultists have conjured a malevolent entity that will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

To get Annabelle what she wants, James Wan produces a mediocre film with minor bumps and impractical acting. The actors here are unknown; it’s quite obvious why. Oddly, one of the main characters’ real name is Annabelle Wallis. She plays Mia. Horror isn’t horrifying unless actors go completely over the top. When an actor is crying, I expect to see real tears. Unfortunately, Mia maintains mediocrity throughout the film. Her husband (Ward Horton) is nice to look at, but relatively irrelevant. He only appears in the film before something bad happens.  These obvious cues dropped the scary factor a notch or two.

SPOILER ALERT: There isn’t one. For this film, there is no spoiler alert because the 30 second trailer includes about ninety percent of the fright. In one scene, where Mia is looking under her door at her baby, the preview shows Annabelle falling to the floor and suddenly looking back at Mia. That scene should be saved for the movie, so that a theater audience might actually be surprised and frightened.

Notwithstanding the film’s shortcomings, it’s ripe for the Halloween season or an uneventful Saturday night. At approximately 98 minutes long, you get your money’s worth. Additionally, it’s based on the
movie, The Conjuring, which is based on a true story. If you really want a scare, Google the real doll. The movie’s 1960’s setting, in the suburbs of California, is unique among the current field of horror films.
John Leonetti does use a combination of special effects and simple scenes, with a menacing silence, to keep the audience on their toes. But it’s not enough to warrant a second watching.

Overall, I cannot recommend this movie. The only thing I feared during the entire experience was the bad acting and the occasional scream of a young teen. It’s a good concept, with potential for greatness, but it comes up a bit short.


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