Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

‘Annabelle’ gives chills at box office

Put away those Chucky dolls, there’s a new doll in town…

Review Rating: 4/5 Stars

As if October wasn’t a creepy month already for moviegoers, Warner Bros. has just released “Annabelle,” its prequel to 2013’s “The Conjuring”, directed by James Wan [that featured Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as famous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren].

This time Wan, who has directed films such as “Saw, Dead Silence and Insidious,” stepped down to allow “The Conjuring” cinematographer John R. Leonetti to take over as director for “Annabelle.”

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“Annabelle” tells the story of a new mother Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis), and medical student John Gordon (Ward Horton), who are trapped in a battle for their child’s soul after members of a satanic cult break into their home and attempt to kill Mia’s unborn child.

As police break into Gordon’s Santa Monica home, they shoot one of the perpetrators but another suspect, their neighbors’ estranged daughter, locks herself in the baby’s room. She commits suicide holding Mia’s new prized collection, a porcelain doll that was given to her by her husband.

After Mia returns from the hospital strange occurrences and a mysterious fire force the Gordon’s to relocate to Pasadena where their problems follow close behind.

With Mia’s husband working long hours and her now born child in danger, Mia seeks help from Evelyn, (Alfre Woodard), a nearby book owner and her priest, Father Perez (Tony Amendola).

With little to no time to spare, Mia has to make a decision and with an unexpected twist, the ending leaves the audience frozen while the credits roll on the screen.

Although the film is 98 minutes long, it packs a formula so rare other films besides “The Conjuring” have long forgotten.

With the 60s theme and vibe, the film resembles Roman Polanski’s classic “Rosemary’s Baby” in some scenes, and considering the main characters name is Mia, it leaves one to wonder if that was the style and influence the director was aiming for.

Considering “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” are based on true events, it makes one wonder if the original character’s name is Mia, or if the director changed the name of the main lead to Mia as a way to pay homage to Mia Farrow. Farrow is known for her role as Rosemary in the 1968 thriller/horror film, “Rosemary’s Baby.”

Wallis who is known for her roles in “The Tudors” and “X-Men: First Class,” makes for a believable new mother fighting for her child’s soul. Her acting, while raw at times, reflects innocence and gives the feeling of anxiety as her frustration reaches a new high, while she realizes she has little to no options in saving her daughter’s soul.

The rest of the cast at times seemed too novice to be in the film, especially Horton. While his acting was supporting and the chemistry with Wallis was there, his character was rarely seen while the horror was happening leaving Wallis’ acting to dominate on the screen.

Regardless, “Annabelle” definitely had its share of hair-raising moments.

“Annabelle” will become one of those films that remind both the directors and audience that horror is not necessarily about the amount of blood seen on the big screen or how many people end up dying, but the impact it leaves on one after leaving the local movie cinema and taking the long drive back home.

Theatrical trailer courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures via YouTube

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