Adamantium Bullet

Theatrical Review: ANNABELLE



Before THE CONJURING, there was ANNABELLE. (C) Warner Bros.



> Far from the cheapie THE CONJURING cash-in we were expecting it to be, ANNABELLE was a solid scream machine loaded with likable performances (it is a testament to Alfre Woodard’s abilities as an actress she can take a cliché as tired as “The Neighbor Who Just So Happens To Own A Bookstore And Knows All About The Occult” and make it work), effective direction (low as the budget may be, director John R. Leonetti doesn’t skimp with the camera flourishes, palpable dread, and early ‘70s period details), and legit scares (Annabelle really hates that baby!).

> Annabelle Wallis. Not only was her performance the very glue that kept this flick together, her name is a fun little coincidence. Plus, she has the warm iciness of Tippi Hedren, Melanie Laurent, and Dianna Agron. Can't wait to see what she does next.


> As with all prequels, ANNABELLE hurts the mystique or its titular character by over-explaining things. This flick delivers not one, but two, full-on origins for Annabelle, neither of which truly satisfies. Not that we should really want to be satisfied. I mean, seriously, do you really want to know her origin? Isn’t it better to not know? She’s a killer doll. I don’t need some half-cooked “Manson Family meets INSIDIOUS” riff to know she’s evil. Just look at her!

> Leonetti (whose previous directing gigs were THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2 and, oh sweet zombie baby Jebus no, MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION) and writer Gary Dauberman (the less said about his filmography, the better) set up and almost go full meltdown mindf*ck with the finale …but then waffle it to go the happy crappy route. WTF. We’re not saying we WANTED a dark finale. Oh no. But had it went as dark as it was being set up to be, it would’ve been one for the ages, ranked right up with THE MIST, SINISTER, and THE VANISHING (original, not remake).


J Bryant





Posted by J. Bryant

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