Annabelle (2014)


Annabelle – Review

So I went to the cinema and watched Annabelle last night. Being a fan of any spooky movie and having enjoyed The Conjuring (Annabelle is the prequel to The Conjuring) I was looking forward to a good scare.

I’m pretty sure most of us are aware of the story but for those who aren’t, the film centres around a likeable couple with a new baby who become the proud new owners of a possessed doll – Annabelle.

The film is a slow burner. It’s making an obvious effort to set up its characters and have some semblance of a story-line we ‘care’ about it. It’s not full of cheap scares or obvious CGI. For instance the doll never blinks her eye or looks round in a coquettish way – it’s just not that kind of film.

But is it still scary? Yes-ish. 

There were two scenes in the movie that I found kinda frightening. The rest was more unnerving rather than flat out fear. It’s all pretty standard.

There was tension though and I’d credit some of this to composer Joseph Bishara (the man responsible for the shit scary Insidious soundtrack). The music was great, shocking and even if nothing eventually happened, you still expected it to and thus felt scared – mission accomplished. 

The film mixes a few different types of scares, we have the usual demonic “I want your soul” type stuff. The mandatory priest and dusty old books that must hold the answers!

There’s ghostly apparitions and also, perhaps most shockingly of all, real life violence and trauma. As previously mentioned the couple and their baby were all likable (even if the parents were a bit twee and perfect). The baby, well she was just adorable. I’m not even a ‘baby person’ but even I thought she was quite sweet.

And to see this little girl and her nice parents under threat from real life violence, well, I felt sorry for them and thought to myself in a grown up voice ‘well that’s not very nice is it’. But it all added to the film, so it was clever really. At least the makers aren’t just rolling out the same old crap.

There’s not much I can negatively say about Annabelle, I enjoyed it, probably won’t watch it again for years. It could have been scarier but it was good enough. The Conjuring was relentless in places, but I felt Annabelle gave the viewer time to recuperate after a major scare. The story was also a bit convenient in places, but we could say that about many, many films, especially horrors!

It wasn’t too long at 99 minutes and all in all it was a pretty decent supernatural film. I would recommend Annabelle but I still believe that The Babadook is the 2014 Halloween  movie to really shit your pants to. (See my trailer review here).

I would just like to add one little thing before signing off – WHO in their right mind, would EVER want to buy that HORRIBLE, shitty, creepy doll?! 


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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15 Responses to Annabelle (2014)

  1. I’m a horror movie fan – I’m a fan of the original evil dead trilogy to Romero to Poltergeist, korean horror, french horror etc… I’m also a fan of the new wave of horror. I’m a fan of the Conjuring as it was a film that made me think the art of a horror movie is back.

    First off… this isn’t made by James Wan… it’s made by it’s filmographer so off of the bat you’re probably going to get some cool scenes but perhaps lack of character development. The budget of Annabelle is $5 million (that’s 1/4 of what the Conjuring cost). Let me tell you the script is the weakest part of this film.

    The movie starts off slow… this is where the film should really get you into the characters but there isn’t much here, it’s generic. It’s the weakest part of the film. You have your standard couple… man goes to work, woman stays home and experiences weird stuff. The problem with this is that it’s hard for you to bother to relate to the characters. This kind of kills the film for me. There were actually a lot that could have been explored but they didn’t touch like the kids in the apartment.

    Now the good. There is very little CGI – perhaps none. It’s all old school. This is something that anyone could actually film…. chair moving, oven is on, someone standing there. It’s good. It works. There’s a great scene here with a baby. Are there enough scares? Not really. The pay off for the film felt like they might have fixed the movie for censors but even though the film is Rated R.

    There’s a lot missing in this film. It’s not horrible. It’s worth a rental. It’s your average horror movie.

  2. table9mutant says:

    Nice review. 🙂 I missed this one but am sure I’ll check it out on Netflix. I know it’ll be no Babadook (the one to really shit your pants to?! Lol!). Did you review The Babadook?? Came here looking for the review of that! I still think that was an awesome horror film. 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      I still haven’t seen The Babadook!! 😦

      I was on holiday the week after Halloween and kind of missed it 😦

      BUT I will make such a night of it, at home, when I do watch it on DVD or laptop. I can’t wait to review 🙂

      Your review was awesome by the way!

      Thanks 🙂 Annabelle was okay, it was a decent movie but not that scary. But a good enough effort and likable.

  3. robbinsrealm says:

    Very good review!

    Like yourself, I loved The Conjuring. it was one of, if not my favorite horror film from the previous year, so I also was looking forward to watching Annabelle.

    Firstly, I agree with you, that it is a slow burner. I thought the beginning made good use of the real life news footage of the Manson family, which was a completely fresh story at the time Annabelle is supposed to be taking place. I thought it served, a morbid, yet important reminder, that cults, like the Manson family, committed outrageous crimes, for no other reason than to satiate their own psychotic delusions, which were usually brought forth by taking drugs such as LSD. The film, of course, took things a step further, because the cult was trying to summon a demon.

    I liked the fact, that while it would have been very easy to incorporate the use of CGI into the film, that the director opted to forgo that approach. Additionally, I liked that he invested time when it came to the young family; that made me, as a viewer, care more about what happened to them. In my opinion, even though there is a lack of CGI present in the movie, I feel the scares, for the most part, still come across as genuine and effective.

    The Babadook film that you mentioned in your blog is one that I am not familiar with, so I will definitely check it out when I get a chance. Thank you for the recommendation.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks for another lovely comment! I’m very excited and scared to see The Babadook.

      It looks scary!!!!

      Thing is with Annabelle is it wasn’t that scary but I still thought it was good. I agree wholeheartedly about your CGI comments and felt the whole movie steered clear of cheap scares and really tried to build up story and characters and I respect them for that.

  4. There were a few decent scares in there but I felt that overall this film couldn’t hide what it was; a cheap rushed follow-up trying to cash in on The Conjuring’s huge success. Totally agree with your final comments about the doll though, it’s just grotesque.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks for stopping by Richard! Thanks for your feedback 🙂

      I’m not sure exactly I’d call it cheap, in fact I thought it tried hard (maybe too hard!) not to be. But all in all it wasn’t as good as The Conjuring.

      I do know what you mean though 🙂

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  6. Great review Emma! I’ve been seeing the trailer for this and even though I liked the Conjuring I’m not sure about this. Although that baby is way too cute 🙂 I have to admit, part of it is the doll. I’ve got a thing about scary clowns and evil dolls. And really! Who the hell would keep that thing, especially with a baby. Eww 😦 And I collect dolls!

    • emmakwall says:

      The baby was so lovely! She giggled and smiled all the time she made me laugh!

      I don’t think this movie was as classically creepy as The Conjuring but it may have had more memorable moments.

      The doll was horrid it may be one to avoid if you don’t like creepy versions because it could spoil your own collection!

      Thanks so much for your kind feedback too 🙂


  7. theipc says:


    I thought this was pretty good – although slow sometimes like you say. That scene where Alfre and the mom are listening to the couple upstairs almost made me shit my pants a little. And that stairway scene. How did you do? Did you need your baggy pants???

    • emmakwall says:

      I didn’t no! But my friend did ha ha (she spent the film duration underneath her hoodie)

      I’m getting hardened in my old age. Like a tortoise 🙂

      The stairway scene was frightening and very tense. I wanted to help her! Or just someone to help her! The scene just prior as well with the elevator, that was nasty.

      Yes it was a good film, it didn’t scare me too much but then that’s not always the whole point anyway. It scared me enough and felt tense throughout, plus it was a good story, nothing to dislike really. Except the portrait fuckin’ photo!!!!

      Oh yes listening to those voices wasn’t very nice. I also found all the real life violence quite shocking. Was not expecting it and that little baby was such a porky little cutie pie that I hated the thought of something hurting her. Like the *spoilers!* garbage truck and falling books.

      And the early scene with the neighbours was rather shocking too.

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