Derivative Dolly: “Annabelle” (2014) Review

On Saturday I watched Annabelle (2014) for the first time. This was my latest DVD screener I received from my job to review. Annabelle is both a prequel to and spin-off of The Conjuring (2013) and was inspired by the real doll Annabelle. Upon its release I wasn’t really looking forward to this movie as much as some were. The trailers looked fine, but I didn’t have much confidence in the movie. The terrible reviews it got weren’t helping either. I ended up not seeing it in theaters.

Well I’ve seen it now and I was really disappointed by it, but I can’t say I’m all that surprised. Annabelle is nowhere near as good as the far superior The Conjuring, this ‘spin-off/prequel’ was obviously trying to bank off a popular gimmick. Considering how well it did financially at the box office, the makers definitely succeeded. But I can’t say the same about the actual movie. The story is interesting to follow but it never tries to be original or break new ground. There are a couple of well executed and genuinely scary moments, but also a whole lot of cheap jump scares. The acting was okay, I liked the performances of Annabelle Wallis (“Mia”) and Alfre Woodard (“Evelyn”). The soundtrack was pretty good. For a movie titled “Annabelle” you would expect that it would almost entirely focus on the doll itself, but that was definitely not the case here. The doll itself was pretty much in the background the entire time…

Its a shame to see a horror movie unabashedly borrowing elements from better horror movies like Rosemary’s Baby and Insidious. Annabelle is very predictable and overall its just not frightening, haunting or even remotely memorable to be in the same league as The Conjuring. It barely gets a pass from me… I’d say its worth a rental at most. Instead of watching Annabelle, watch The Conjuring. Already seen it? Then wait for the sequel!

Wanna read some more reviews of mine? Visit Ferdi’s Movie World and you can find plenty of more!

-Ferdi Akkulak