Annabelle (2014)

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The conversation that the Ministry and I had on the in-flight chat system after we watched Annabelle.

This is directed by John R. Leonetti, the cinematographer of Insidious, The Conjuring and The Mask, which with all due respect to Jim Carrey are not great movies.

The movie’s set in the 60s, which almost accounts for its horrid depiction of gender roles. A nice young couple live in a lovely big house even though the husband (Ward Horton) is a student and the wife (Annabelle Wallis) does not work and just wanders about in awesome period dresses cradling her pregnant belly.

Until she gives birth that is, and the belly instantly tightens back into a washboard stomach.

 

The trouble starts when her equally vapid husband brings her the gift of a vintage doll so unspeakably demonic in appearance that no one in their right mind would give it to a pregnant woman, or a child for that matter.

After the doll is mixed up in a violent incident at their home, they try to get rid of it but obviously the doll proves stubbornly resistant to binning.

They do the horror movie thing in which the wife is going crazy and the husband tries valiantly to pretend he doesn’t think his wife is going crazy.

Happily, the wife runs into a spiritual black woman who believes in the occult and accepts her story without question. The woman says it’s because she’s too old for anything to surprise her, even though she only looks about 40. The local priest proves equally credulous and steps in to help.

This movie is thematically incoherent and overly formulaic, even for B-grade horror, replete with fluttering curtains, randomly slamming doors and appliances that turn themselves on and off.

The leads, while blameless, are given virtually nothing to work with; their dialogue and reactions to events are painfully predictable and wrapped around a simpering theme of maternal love (paternal love irrelevant).

Disappointingly for a scary doll movie, because everyone loves a scary doll movie, to say there were any decent scary bits in this would be stretching the truth.

I recommend you choose something else to watch on the plane but not Saving Mr Banks unless you want to weep endlessly and pointlessly. 4/10

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