Of dolls and other demons

Of dolls and other demons

Annabelle
English (A) ¬¬
Director: John R Leonetti
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton

The Conjuring: Last year’s movie that was more terrifying than most horror films in recent memory.

Even in the most crowded theatres, when The Conjuring was screened, all tomfools who like to make horror movies a funny affair were silenced.

For the most part, audiences did not indulge in ill-timed humour or scream exaggeratedly because they couldn’t.

Horror movie buffs have awaited the prequel Annabelle, a film about the doll from The Conjuring’s opening scene.

 The almost lifesize porcelain doll with dead eyes and a sickly smile that is home to a soul-sucking demon. But the Annabelle doll was just a snippet of horror in The Conjuring, and Director James Wan seemed to have decided to keep his creepy ventriloquist doll tricks from the terrifying film Dead Silence (2007) out of the picture.

In Annabelle, directed by John R Leonetti and produced by James Wan, doll-related creepiness is not as terrifying one would like; one almost wishes for entertainment through audience tomfoolery.

The movie is more about the story of how Annabelle was haunted, leaving little room for terrifying action. The plot goes like this: Mia and John Gordon (Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton) are a couple expecting a baby. And Annabelle was John’s thoughtful gift to his wife who loves collecting vintage porcelain dolls.

At this point, the Annabelle doll is demon-free, and the movie goes on to tell the story of how the doll was possessed and its immediate activities of tormenting the innocent.

The Conjuring barely gave people a moment’s peace with back-to-back horror and unexpected jolts. But in Annabelle, there’s too much breathing space and the lead up to the scare is long enough for one to make multiple conclusions about what is about to happen when the scene climaxes, and one of those could be a spot-on prediction.

There are many things in Annabelle that cannot hold a candle to The Conjuring. Even the soundtrack, the simplest and most important element to magnify the suspense in horror movies, was virtually absent. But when The Conjuring is out of the picture, Annabelle is not an all bad horror movie by itself.

If the film’s producers hadn’t played up the prequel factor too much, it could have been saved from the criticism of comparison.

If you haven’t watched The Conjuring, going to theatres for Annabelle may not be a total waste. This movie is best, though, as part of a horror-movie marathon night at home with the lights out.

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