Annabelle: Review

As origin stories go, Annabelle certainly has a lurid history involving satanic cults and sacrifices, and The Conjuring pretty much covered everything you needed to know about this haunted doll. Annabelle is an unnecessary and overly extended prequel with a thin story, with two incredibly uncharismatic leads, and a languid pace that will frighten off most audiences. Yet there's enough well-earned scares (if you avoided the trailers like I did), and traditional horror elements that will satisfy many diehard supernatural horror fans. This well-produced and polished period piece harkens back to the horror potboilers of the 70s. It's directed by esteemed cinematographer John Leonetti (Insidious, The Conjuring and Sleepy Hollow tv show) who can really capture frightening visuals but fails somewhat as a director in creating the sustained tension needed in a horror movie. There's even direct homages to Rosemary's Baby and even a gag used quite effectively in Insidious, so maybe the point is to have a retro haunted house movie with a linear plot that has a beginning, middle – AND an end!? How refreshing! When the story gets going and eventually it does, it's quite entertaining, and it solidifies that creepy doll as one of the most sinister icons in modern horror. It's been a while since we had an inanimate object instill such instant terror (ahem, clown from Poltergeist comes to mind).