Girls and Dolls
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton
Directed by: John Leonetti
Duration: 1 hr 48 mins
Rating: * *
In present day, any film that becomes successful at the box office has a very high chance of a sequel coming up sooner rather than later. If it is a horror film, the chances go up drastically. Annabelle is a prequel to The Conjuring, one of the biggest hits of last year. That James Wan film may have had a lot of mumbo-jumbo about evil but it was one of the better scary films in recent times.
Annabelle is directed by cinematographer John Leonetti (who also shot The Conjuring) and the level of abstract notions of evil, devil and ‘demons seeking the soul’ goes up a few notches higher in this film. In The Conjuring one could ignore that claptrap because one, it comes up only towards the end and two, it was an engaging film on most counts.
Annabelle on the other hand is largely single track and for a film made in the 21stcentury lines like “Ghosts haunt specific places whereas demons, they want a soul and the soul has to be offered to them”. Oh yeah.
Set in the 60’s, John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are a couple expecting their first child. During the pregnancy, their neighbors are killed by members of a satanic cult and the couple is also attacked. A rather creepy looking doll which was disposed off in the trash makes reappearance when they move to a different house.
All the things that should happen when you have a doll like that in the house do happen- strange sounds emanate, doors close on their own, sewing machines operate automatically. All that might give a momentary scare but on the whole it doesn’t engross you. Usually in horror films, all the ‘explanations’ about spirits, and haunted places come towards the end and you don’t mind it because that comprises of an undersized part of the film. But here all the so called rationalization happens at the mid point with dialogues like “The devil preys on the weak and the vulnerable” and “Evil is constant nothing that has not been created can be destroyed” or words to that effect.
There is the odd James Wan touch to the film (he is the co-producer) like the elevator scene for instance.
Annabelle, a real life doll like that will be far more exciting than this film.
Published in The Navhind Times on 12th Oct 2014