Cinematic Releases: Annabelle

We're a couple days behind on this one. But here's our warning about this evil doll named Annabelle.

"Awww honey! Look at the
cute little demon doll. Can
I have her?"
With a crew that has collectively worked on The Conjuring, Insidious Chapters 1 & 2 and Repo! The Genetic Opera, I had a little voice inside telling me that I could end up being pleasantly surprised with Annabelle. Well ladies and gentlemen, this film stomped that little voice into the ground and spit all over it.

This thing is a train wreck right from the get go. Within the first 30 minutes, we’re introduced to multiple subplots tacked on to our main story line that serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. We’re meeting characters and learning about them even though they're completely disconnected from everything else going on. There are plot holes galore and it feels as if someone drunkenly pieced this script together while telling ghost stories around a bonfire. I mean, this writing is a total mess. The film would make more sense with no dialogue at all. I’m not even sure if I can blame our cast for the cheesy, straight to DVD acting. With a couple recognizable names like Brian Howe and Alfre Woodard delivering terribly lackluster performances, it becomes much more apparent that the dreadful script is to blame for the sub-par acting.

"Okay. Staring contest?! I think
I know who's gonna win!!"
That being said, I can’t attack everything about the piece. It’s actually filmed and edited quite nicely. A good deal of the camerawork is very well done, as many of the shots are wholly thought out and placed just right. When it comes down to sound design and effects, it’s apparent that some of the Insidious crew had their hands in the mix, which is definitely not a bad thing. Unfortunately that’s all the praise I can really dish out. We are consistently smacked in the face with typical jump scares that even Stevie Wonder could see coming from a mile away. There is, however, an elevator scene that is quite effective and rather frightening. The only way this film will scare you is if you have a huge fear of dolls – there is nothing else here.

From a production standpoint, this is a nice film. Outside of that, we are sucked down a black hole of messy writing and cliché after cliché. With so many other solid major releases out such as Oculus, As Above, So Below and Sinister, Annabelle can go back to the toy chest for good. Call me when the Conjuring sequel is ready to go.

-Shayne McGuire