John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia - a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia's delight with Annabelle doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now... Annabelle.
Tis time to move on from conduit demons. *** This review contains minor spoilers *** It doesn't have James Wan's name on the director's chair, but it's every inch a James Wan film. There seems to be a rut that has emerged where this new brand of horror film makers can't see that recycling the same ideas is, well, kinda dull. Insidious, Dead Silence and The Conjuring have their critics (not me, I like them all very much), but the timing was right for them to hit the mark of many a horror film lover. Tapping into the fear of the doll and the demon hadn't been done for some time, certainly not with any conviction, so all good there for the fans. Annabelle spins off from The Conjuring, and Dead Silence to a degree, but just comes off as a lazy cash-cow. The doll is a spooky monstrosity (most unlike the real Rag-Dolly-Anna version), but it's all a bit of a con, the makers resorting to another demonic being, only Red Darth Maul has now been replaced by Blue Lagoon The Loon. Character's actions are often preposterous, stretching credulity to breaking point (I know you are being menaced by the unknown, but I got a conference to go to, sleep tight babe!). Elsewhere, while everyone acknowledges that what scares you is subjective, but the scares here are very thin on the ground, not helped by a dull script and bland lead actors. It's tidy enough a production, granted, but familiarity breeds contempt and it's hoped that Wan's return to the director's chair for The Conjuring 2 (where we revisit the realm of poltergeist activity), signals a return to form for his horror stable. 5/10