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Follow Genre: Horror
Director: John R. Leonetti
Distributor: Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., Warner Home Video
Duration: 98 minutes

Annabelle (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Annabelle Wallis does a great job as Mia, story is enjoyable enough...
Bad: ... but not that original, not a lot of background information on the characters
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0
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We know them all too well. Those incredibly creepy, porcelain dolls with a smirk on their faces and a thick layer of make-up covering their pale facades. Those dolls have played a very important role in numerous horror movies. Whoever thought that toys looking as horrifying as those things are a perfect match with young, playful children seriously needs to think about a career change. Even adults would freak-out waking up in a room with such a porcelain monster staring down at them. In Annabelle, we see a freakish doll taking up another major role in a terrifying story and I must admit: if I’d ever come across a similar puppet sometime in my life, I’d turn around and run until my lungs burst.

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Mia and John are a young and happy couple and as Mia is in an advanced state of pregnancy, they both can’t wait to welcome the newest member of their family. One day, John has a little present for his wife. Mia is an eager collector of old, authentic porcelain dolls. They bring a lot of joy to her as she thinks about the past and how she used to play with them. She has a collection of a particular set of large dolls but unfortunately, she misses one piece to complete the set. Yes, you have guessed it right. After searching everywhere, John has finally found the missing piece and when he surprises his wife with the toy, she’s incredibly delighted. The puppet immediately gets a place on the front row of her collection. What a magnificent piece.

Unfortunately, the doll seems to be of great importance for some satanic cultists. On a certain evening, two of them break into the home of our main characters and stab Mia in the belly. One wacko gets shot down while another one commits suicide while holding the doll I spoke of previously, tightly in her arms. Mia recovers fully but is still shocked by the whole experience. It doesn’t take too long before she starts to notice stranger and stranger things going on in the house and when she mentions this to her husband, he seems to take her anxiety quite lightly. In the movie, we see how Mia struggles with convincing John about a presence in the house and how the vintage doll is connected to all supernatural events. Although the story is a pretty standard one without a lot of unexpected twists, it’s still good enough to see Annabelle through. Some more background information on the personages would’ve been welcome as we never get to really know the main characters (or other characters for that matter) and that’s a shame as it can get hard to really care about what is happening to the family.

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Acting performances are quite good and felt genuine and convincing. You might think that true anxiety is one of the hardest emotions to play as an actor/actress, but the cast in Annabelle knows how to make the audience believe in their terror. The actress who plays Mia is Annabelle Wallis. Quite the irony that she’s called Annabelle but nevertheless, she plays her part like it should and succeeds greatly in making herself look like a terrified and helpless person. If you stop to think about it for a second, Annabelle is mostly acting with no one around. In the movie itself, she’s fighting a supernatural presence but in real life, she’s the one who’s got to make the audience believe in that presence. Not an easy job to do, that’s for sure, but it all worked out pretty well. Ward Horton takes up the role as husband John Gordon. Although we see much less of him compared to Annabelle, he still does a decent job. The one thing that could count as a small remark concerning his performance is that sometimes, he felt pretty careless about his wife Mia. At one point, I nearly accused him of being behind the attack of the cultists but maybe that was the intention of the director to make him look guilty. If not, he might’ve looked a bit more caring for his traumatized and tormented wife. Tony Amendola, known for his roles in Continuum and The Mask of Zorro among others, plays the part of Father Perez and he too succeeds in bringing another interesting character to the table.

The Annabelle Blu-ray comes with a bunch of interesting extras. Besides some deleted scenes, we’ve got The Curse of Annabelle where the creators of the movie explain the myth behind the Annabelle doll. It turns out that the doll isn’t some weird fantasy of one of the creators but inspired by an existing specimen. Besides that, there’s Bloody Tears of Possession where we see more about the attack of the cultists and in Dolls of the Demon, the audience gets to meet a bunch of creepy looking vintage dolls and the crew shows how they succeed in making them look absolutely horrifying. Lastly, there’s A Demonic Process where the demon in Annabelle gets a little more attention.

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Conclusion

Annabelle is certainly worth a watch and you might get some good scares while doing so. The story is far from groundbreaking but is enjoyable enough to get the viewer to press on. Acting performances are decent but Ward Horton felt a bit off at certain moments in the movie. Overall, I can say that Annabelle proves to be average but nothing more than that. If you like horror, this is a movie you might want to pick up at a good price.

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