On Wednesday night, I had the chance to see a special preview of Annabelle before it opened this weekend. I sat on the idea of whether to write a review of the movie or not, and while it’s Sunday, I decided to just do it. It’s going to be short, especially since there are numerous people out there who don’t like spoilers, so I’ll give my initial thoughts. Keep in mind that I’m not a film critic.
If you’re looking for accuracy in terms of the real story of Annabelle, you best look elsewhere. Before even walking into the movie, you have to accept that this is a “Hollywood” film, so there will be embellishments, overly dramatized actions, and more. If you approach this as a fiction film, then you’ll probably enjoy it more.
On that note, you can probably tell that I walked into the movie with really low expectations, which might be why I didn’t hate the movie. In fact, I actually liked it.
In the “prologue” of the film, we get a glimpse of two nurses and a man being interviewed by who we assume is Ed and Lorraine Warren about the doll. Then there’s a quick cutaway to “One year earlier…” (and the poor girl next to me read it as “One year later” and proceeded to be really confused the rest of the movie).
In terms of plot, even though the movie’s start was a bit slow, it quickly accelerated as the premise of WHY the doll became possessed or haunted in the first place was established. The movie starred (ironically) Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton as a young couple expecting their first child, named Mia and John. Well, John (Horton) gifts the creepy doll to Mia. Even before the doll becomes possessed and evil, it is a creepy doll and makes you wonder why Mia wanted it in the first place, but it turns out the doll is a rare collector’s item that is part of a collection. While still a bit unbelievable when Mia called the doll “beautiful”, the sense of realism as to why the doll was there to begin with kind of makes sense.
Of course with any horror film, there are jump moments and plot twists just for the sake of shock value, along with moments where people were literally yelling at the screen to tell the characters to turn back or not go into the creepy basement. But as the film closed out, I was actually moved to near tears as one of the characters makes the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace to the young family and their baby. The movie also ends with a full circle with the interview in the very beginning with a blurb about the doll’s current whereabouts.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and recommended my friends who are horror fans and/or into the paranormal to see it.
If you go in with the assumption that this sequel/prequel to “The Conjuring” is going to be an exaggeration of the real Annabelle story and understand that it’s just Hollywood, you might enjoy it. If you’re new to the whole thing and don’t know the story of Annabelle, you best check it out and learn where the story came from. I imagine that the movie will help drive interest in the Warrens and Annabelle, and more people than ever will want to see the doll.