Monday, 20 October 2014

Annabelle (4 Stars)

I went to see this film with my friends in the Birmingham Film Club. Okay, I know the official name is "Birmingham Movies & Social Group", but as far as I'm concerned it's the Birmingham Film Club. It's a prequel to "The Conjuring", although the connections between the two films are very tenuous.

The film takes place in 1967. It's a perfect but sterile world in which everyone dresses smart and neighbours go to church together. The television broadcasts news about Charles Manson, but the evil world of religious cults is far, far away. Or so it seems.

John Form buys a doll for his pregnant wife Mia, who is an avid doll collector. She needed the doll to complete a collection. As soon as the doll was shown there were groans in the cinema audience. Anybody who buys a doll that ugly deserves whatever happens to him. Even worse, after the birth the doll is placed in her baby's room. An ugly doll like that would traumatise a child even without being possessed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Shortly before the birth the Forms hear screaming from their next door neighbours' house. The neighbours have been killed by their daughter, Annabelle Higgins, and her boyfriend, who we later find out belong to a Satanic cult. The evil pair break into the Forms' house, but John manages to shoot them. God bless America for home defence! As Annabelle lies dying her blood drips onto the doll. In the following scenes we see that the doll is possessed by Annabelle's spirit.

The doll is also called Annabelle, but we don't find this out until later in the film. Is it a coincidence, or did the Forms have a twisted sense of humour and pick the name for her after the killing? I don't know.

I feel guilty rating the film so highly. It's a trashy film, relying on sudden jumps in music and action to scare the audience, but it does its job. It made me jump in my seat a few times. I enjoyed it, but I doubt I'll want to watch it again.

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