Saturday, October 4, 2014

Annabelle - The New Story that wasn't Ruined in "The Conjuring"

4 of 6 Viewers "Liked" "Annabelle" (2014,USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Lord Battle - "The new mythology they've come up with for Annabelle is very entertaining. Since "The Conjuring" pretty much gave away the whole true story, a rewrite was inevitable and believe me, this isn't the "Child's Play" film you were expecting." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "I wasn't expecting much going into the movie but it genuinely surprised me. Annabelle was a lot of fun. The jump scares were pretty effective, I love how we didn't see much of the doll like we'd expect but it played more of a symbol of the present evil. I also enjoyed the old school feel and the little to no use of CGI gave the film more realistic scares and sustained tension. Overall I'd recommend this film and it's a great start to the Halloween season." - 4 1/2 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - Spoilers - "Where the potentially dullard and cookie-cutter Catholic cosmology of The Conjuring was made glorious by a cast and direction full of kinetic power and elan, this prequel can only be described as dumb, dumb stuff. The handful of brilliant and even disturbing scare moments have their spell broken by two lifeless leads and some kitschy demons that look like they escaped from the local Spencer's. If this isn't the last film I see this year where demons pursue the offspring of upper-middle class arian families, then I may have to revise my position on the existence of pure evil. Without the frustrated and hilarious commentary of the Math Mage at my right I don't think I could have endured." - 1 1/2 Stars

Ice Giant - "I went into this not expecting much so to be treated with such a great movie really blew me away, the trailer did give away some of the best moments but not all of them like I thought when I first saw it. The characters you actually cared for and believed they weren't your typical stock horror couple, and it had enough jump scares to keep any horror fan happy." - 4 1/2 Stars

Huntress - "With the rampant short comings of recent new horror, I was a little worried about this movie, but I couldn't have been more wrong! This was an awesome story, filled with authentic characters that I didn't want to die. Seemingly predictable moments did not go as expected, which made them much more tense and scary. I definitely left the theater creeped out, and not just because of Annabelle's face! - 4 Stars

Math Mage - "A formula haunted house story that manages to be boring despite a strong opening and several good sequences but why is it boring? Because I don't care about the haunted couple and I'm not interested in the success of their marriage. A good haunted house movie makes you care about the family and success of their marriage despite the trauma of ghost attack! This family was too boring and unlikable." - 2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*

-This section is better to revisit after seeing the film-

Annabelle is the second in what hopefully will be a rash of rated "R" Ed & Lorraine adventures. With that said, this film actually feels more like "The Conjuring" director James Wan's other film "Insidious" and not just for the superficial fact that the demon's in both films look so similar they could be related. No, I say it more closely resembles "Insidious" because of the story telling, "Insidious" packed more punch in it's visuals than it's narrative. "The Conjuring" on the other hand had a whole new way to tell a ghost story by splitting the film among two struggling families united by a common goal. Not to mention "The Conjuring" actually had a satisfying ending, which is unheard of in haunted house films!
Enough about previous films, Annabelle does suffer from a couple that feels very stale, but I wouldn't go as far as The Berkeley Blazer in pushing this, in fact I felt that Mia (Annabelle Wallis) was a great victim and excelled when performing alone. Actually the lack of chemistry between Mia and John (Ward Horton) strengthens the second act of the film, as the not so religious couple is put to the test by a very evil looking doll and the real story hidden between the lines, raising a little girl in the ever declining state of America. 
It's established very early on in the film and even literally talked about how the world is seemingly coming apart, this to me was the perfect kind of fear for a twenty-something soon to be mother to dwell on. I could even use this time to argue that the film is really about her losing her mind (my favorite point when arguing this is that the only person in this film to witness anything paranormal is also suffering from the loss of her own child and currently seeking a meaning to live...).
Annabelle will definitely be well received from horror fans (as proven above in the review section) and I think it's pretty obvious that this film was made by horror fans. There are a number of moments in "Annabelle" that we've seen a million times but each time they are executed in a different manner, unless it plays to the films advantage to keep the troupe intact.

James Wan and Director John R. Leonetti talk "Annabelle" and get into how "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's Baby" were heavy influences. I must say, they aren't just making this connection up, you can really see Polanski in the set design of the second apartment and its awesome.

The real Annabelle story is told in the first 10 min of the video below. The show is okay but ultimately a worse version of Coast to Coast, just watch the for the story.

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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