I am a massive pansy when it comes to horror films, so anything even remotely creepy and I’ll probably have nightmares for weeks. So a few weeks ago, I was dumb enough to watch Annabelle. The film about the possessed doll and the many creepy things that happen while she is in the house. I have never watched any of the other Conjuring universe films so came to the film knowing very little about it, except for one thing: I HATE dolls…like seriously hate them. The only reason I watched this film is because I really hoped it would be bad. Like Chuckie. So bad that it is almost great.
I have never been so wrong in my life.
The first film was pretty good: Good story, decent acting, just the right amount of suspense, and the horror was actually really good. I won’t give away too much information but if you want to watch a decent horror movie then definitely watch this one.
This weekend I agreed to go and see the sequel (which is actually a prequel?), Annebelle Creation, mainly because it was a pretty hectic week and mostly because we had free cinema tickets to use before September. BIG MISTAKE. I have barely slept for two days because of the horrible horror that I saw in this film.
The actors themselves
Now anyone who knows me knows that I’m not all that fond of kids…they creep me out. Mostly because everyone knows that if you want to make a horror movie you have at least two scenes with creepy kids singing a creepy nursery rhyme and there you have it: Horror movie. Horror aspect aside the kids were all pretty decent little actors…you genuinely believed that these were the types of kids who would end up in this situation. There was very little ‘hamming up’ that you normally see when children are on the big screen and so it all felt all too real. Which is apparently a good thing for a horror movie, but a horrid thing for scardey cat me.
Yes there were a few jumpscares, but I literally mean only a few. The worst parts of the film were the suspenseful pauses, where you would witness something horrible and then it would just fade into darkness. The other plus is that you very rarely saw the bad guy (the devil/monster/demony creature) and when you did it was only ever in the very corner of the screen or looking at it from behind, in the darkness, where you aren’t always certain what you are seeing. For me, that is what makes a good horror movie: Never reveal the monster, because 9 times out of 10 we can all tell it’s just a guy in a mask, or (most commonly) new CGI footage. By revealing the monster, all that happens is we realise that it is all fake. BUT…have multiple shots of scared looking kids, creepy little girls walking around at night with glowing eyes, and you are pretty much guaranteed a sleepless night.
I enjoyed the story and the film did a great job of tying in the events of this film with the events that followed in the first (confusing, I know!). It explained how everything really came about, how Annabelle became Annabelle, the demon doll, and how the couple from the first film managed to get caught up in all of the horrible history. It also helped to explain more of the backstory as to why there was a possessed doll in the first place. And never underestimate the sheer terror of a close up shot of an unblinking, un-moving doll face with no noise in the back ground but for footsteps or breathing: In horror films, less really is more.
The film also helped to tie together the Conjuring universe in little Easter eggs. Having never seen the other films, I probably missed a lot of them. But they do mention the Nun from the Conjuring universe and that alone was enough to make me not want to watch the anticipated solo movie of the (ironic) demonic woman of God. Fans of the film would probably notice way more little nods to the original films and that is always a nice little touch to any film franchise, regardless of genre.
For me, it was exhausting dealing with the amount of suspenseful silences that filled this film. I was emotionally drained by about half way through! While I appreciate that all of them did add to the plot and did make the film that bit more realistic, I got really bored of this demon doll essentially screwing over a bunch of orphaned girls and a nun. A few of the scenes could have been shorter/not there at all and I don’t think this would have dramatically changed the film.
As with all prequels, you kind of know who is going to survive and who is going to die: You know from the outset that the doll is going to remain undamaged throughout this film, otherwise how did it turn up in the first one in such pristine condition. It also meant that you couldn’t get overly attached to the characters when you knew that at least the majority of them must have died in order for the doll to be so evil: If the doll did nothing but annoy and scare a few kids, why did it suddenly go on a killing spree in the first one? The doll wouldn’t be evil, just annoying.
That being said, it all hit the fan REALLY quick: One minute, they try to throw a doll down a well for sneaking into someones bed, and the next two people have been dismembered and are hanging up like Christmas lights around the house. It seems the monster went from mildly irritating to full-blown psychotic in less than 2 minutes, and while that was good to get things going, it probably didn’t have to take so long getting to that point to begin with. The scenes of screaming and running away were just as terrifying as the scenes of absolute silence and still frames, so maybe having a different pace would have belted this film up a notch.
I hate dolls. And no…I’m not including pictures because quite frankly I don’t want to relive the horror anymore than I already have. But the film is actually really good: Good horror, good logical story and a decent way to tie all the films together. Definitely go and watch this if you get the chance and definitely be prepared for a few sleepless nights as a result!