(I) (2014)

Critic Reviews



Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The late-60's Satanic panic and housewifely ennui make for a surprisingly complementary mix of fear and paranoia in Annabelle.
Annabelle is mostly a grab into the Great Big Bag O' Horror Clichés: sound-bombs of shrieking violins explode randomly, doors slam unbidden, rocking chairs creak by themselves, machines suddenly whir to life.
Each time a character gets tossed in the air by some manifestation or another, the effect is cheesy. Still, I've seen worse. For the record, the violence in Annabelle is far less copious and sadistic than the stuff in the Denzel Washington movie everybody's going to.
As a blunt object, a machine built to put nerves on edge and fingers over eyes, Annabelle is still crudely (and cruelly) effective. Fear comes cheap.
Though it features a plucky female protagonist, Annabelle still possesses the same medieval attitude toward women as “The Conjuring,” reducing the gender to the extremes of self-sacrificing mother and malevolent toy.
There's nothing surprising about this late '60s tale, including its connection to the modern ghost stories told in “The Amityville Horror” and “The Conjuring.” But what it lacks in originality it makes up with in hair-raising execution. You will scream like a teenage girl.
The script highlights an annoying lack of self-preservation on behalf of the protagonists. But the movie tries to be more than just a creepy doll freakout, and delivers the requisite scares.
There's real craftsmanship to the film, but it's in service of a story that can't quite support it.
Annabelle invites unflattering comparisons with scary movies that came before, but its disparate parts never coalesce into a genuinely fearsome thriller.
It's all a far cry from James Wan's The Conjuring, which embraced the thrill of the paranormal even as it respected its frazzled, earthbound characters.
Sadly, Annabelle, a cheap, sleazy, low-budget prequel meant to explain the origins of that particular doll, is as undistinguished, uninteresting, and unscary as the worst of the Chucky films.
Annabelle is so lazily coat-tailing on Roman Polanski, they should have called it “Rosemary's Barbie.”
Gary Dauberman's haphazard screenplay merely piles on the cheap scares, with director Leonetti cranking the volume up to 11 to accentuate the frequent jolts. It all adds up to a compendium of horror movie clichés.
Wallis is commendably restrained and Alfre Woodard adds class as Mia's wise ally. But Annabelle is a vortex of visual clichés beyond rescue.

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