Annabelle is a horror film which stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola (Geppetto in Once Upon A Time) and Alfre Woodard. Annabelle is directed by John R. Leonetti who some may know as the director of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) or The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006). The film follows the story of strange events caused by a new doll Annabelle which is cursed and starts to scare Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Hurton) who are just trying to start a family together in their new home.
The plot of Annabelle is very straight forward but also easy to understand. As you see in the trailer, these crazy people invade the home of poor Mia and John and place a curse on the Annabelle doll. The doll starts scaring everyone and the film goes from there. Even though that this film is quite short with it being only 99 minutes in length, I couldn’t help but feel it was a bit slow to move things forward with its plot.
Characters in this film are somewhat developed at certain points, especially the two main characters (Mia and John), although the film is heavily focused on Mia’s character. I thought that Annabelle Wallis who played Mia did quite well with her role and the scenes at the beginning of the film where she was pregnant were quite good. Ward Horton who played John was okay but he didn’t really impress me that much and seemed to be sort of sidelined a bit in the film. What I felt when watching Annabelle was that the characters themselves, actually all of the characters in the film seemed a little bit stiff, they didn’t move much and everything was so slow. To me, it didn’t feel like I was watching something real, it felt like I was watching actors play characters, who to me didn’t seem that realistic as people. Tony Amendola is likely the most famous one in the cast and only has a minor role in the film, he’s only okay as well and I think it’s something to do with the writing or how the director chose to present the characters, which made Annabelle end up in this way, but everyone just seemed strange and unrealistic to me.
The characterisation isn’t necessarily that important to me in a horror film though because everyone knows characters get killed off anyway in these films so they don’t really matter all that much. What matters the most I think to people is that the film is scary. I don’t really know what’s scary to certain people and what isn’t. For me this movie wasn’t super scary or anything new to the genre, but it has its moments. I didn’t think it was a scary as Wolf Creek 2 which I saw earlier this year. Annabelle is sort of like one of those rides you go on at the amusement park (the scary ones) which are kind of scary and when you are in there you might jump a few times when there is a loud noise or shocking moment. But once you’re out it’s not really that bad and you kind of forget about it.
As for the directing of the movie from John R. Leonetti, it’s probably his best film. It’s okay, but it’s a very sort of standard horror film film that you get here with Annabelle. It’s not really anything I haven’t seen before and I don’t even watch that many horror films. The story is okay as well and mixed with the directing and the cast, it’s enough to entertain someone. I certainly wasn’t bored in this film and didn’t really mind the experience. It’s more entertaining than The Giver and dare I say, I think you see Annabelle in more scenes than Godzilla appeared in his own film earlier this year. Some of the close up shots of Annabelle sitting there smiling in the cabinet or sitting around in the room can be quite uncomfortable to watch at times though (a good uncomfortable because it’s a horror film).
Overall Annabelle isn’t going to blow you away or scare you so much that you won’t be able to sleep that night. But that’s not to say it isn’t entertaining, it has its good moments and for fans of The Conjuring (2013), I’m sure they’ll check it out anyway. I found it to be a little bit slow but I don’t want to discourage people from watching the film as it’s not really anything bad. It’s just something that I think I can sum up with two words if someone asked me how it was, I would say “it’s okay….”