So I admit it, I am extremely late to the whole The Conjuring universe. Blame it on supernatural horror not being my favorite subgenre or simply just not being hip, who knows. Either way, I am slowly making my way through them and finally got to Annabelle.
For those not in the know, Annabelle is the second movie in The Conjuring, and is a prequel of sorts to The Conjuring. At the start of The Conjuring, we are introduced to Annabelle, a doll bought for a nurse, and disturbing things start to happen when it is brought home. The Warrens (central in The Conjuring universe) take the doll and lock it up, then The Conjuring movie happens. There is another critical moment with Annabelle, but she is not the central feature of the movie.
The movie Annabelle takes place before the nurse gets her hands on the doll. It follows John and Mia as they prepare for their baby to be born. John buys Mia a doll for the nursery. That night they are attacked by members of a cult. Mia and her baby nearly die, and something happens to the doll.
As Mia attempts to recover from the incident and raise their daughter, various things start to happen to them. She finds out that the doll is being used as a conduit for the cult, and their goal was to summon a demon.
The movie is okay. It is well-acted, there are some cool moments, but it falls a little flat. It is not the most developed story and starts to feel disjointed at times. Not only that, but it is light on scares overall. There were a few stand out scenes, but there was not enough tension built before any of the big moments. So, for the most part, I was creeped out, but not horribly frightened.
What is the biggest problem with this movie, is not even in the movie itself. The Conjuring goes to great lengths to tell you just how messed up Annabelle is. This doll is the thing the Warrens seem to fear the most, even as they live and work in a dark world. It cannot be destroyed, will kill anyone it wants, and is a conduit for pure evil. This was super effective, and everyone was curious about the doll and completely excited to see it’s origins.
But the movie was unable to live up to what The Conjuring laid out for it. Nothing in Annabelle, a movie about the worst of the worst, came even close to being as frightening as The Conjuring. Beyond that, the few scenes we got with Annabelle in The Conjuring themselves are all scarier than anything in the Annabelle movie.
It is sort of a weird case where it wasn’t the fans that overhyped everything, making it impossible for the movie to live up, but the movie universe. There was just no way for Annabelle to live up to what they said about it in The Conjuring. Or maybe there was a way, but they should have taken more time with it. There is only a year between the two movies, and one is significantly weaker than the other. It was… a letdown.
I don’t mean to be so negative. Annabelle is, again, not a bad movie. It is decent, and I would still recommend it, especially for those that put off The Conjuring Universe like myself. I just felt that with everything that was built up, they might have been better off leaving Annabelle more of a mystery.