John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia - a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia's delight with Annabelle doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now... Annabelle.Written by
In the first, rather scary, scene in the Conjuring, featuring the Annabelle doll, I wondered, what kind of woman would ever buy a doll that creepy looking? Apparently no one. Since the real Annabelle was in fact a simple Raggedy Ann doll. This movie purports to tell the whole story behind the doll, almost none of which conforms with reality (meaning the "true" story as it was given to and told by the Warrens). We meet a bland, prosaic young couple about to have a child. The wife has a doll collection decorating the child's room (Before she knows if it's a girl or boy), and the husband buys her the Annabelle doll, which is supposedly an expensive collector's item meant to match two similar dolls. Following an attack by two cult members who lived next door, the Annabelle doll becomes possessed, doing usual ghost things like operating a sewing machine, and record player. Later, she seemingly tries to kill the baby in its womb, contradicting the later explanation that the doll is a demon host looking for an innocent soul. Luckily, a kindly mystical black woman owns a nearby bookstore with a well-stocked occult section. The wife and her friend discover the name of the cult to which the neighbors belonged, but use absolutely none of the information to defeat the doll. In fact, there are many threads that dangle and go nowhere. We meet two children who seemingly draw pictures of the baby being hit by a truck, and then the children are never seen again, and bear no relevance to the plot. The fact that the mystic new age black woman is willing to go to any length to protect this bland white family may strike some as offensive, especially since it appears nowhere in the actual story. Like most films of this nature, it is practically an advertisement for the Catholic Church and Christian religion in general. The Warrens also investigated the Amityville story, whose victims were also Catholic, and the book featured an introduction by a Catholic priest. Essentially, these stories say, for better or worse, that Catholics are the religion feared by the devil, and the only ones capable of eliminating supernatural threats from demons. The Warrens, in fact, keep the doll in a case protected with a cross, and blessed by a priest. As for the movie itself, it features a couple good jump scares. There are a couple scenes strongly reminiscent of Japanese horror (Dark Water and the Grudge especially). I've seen this type of movie done better and much worse. I have no idea why the R rating, except possibly the religious iconography and injury to a priest and pregnant woman. But honestly, this could play on television barely edited, if at all. You can definitely wait for this title on video.
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