Friday, October 3, 2014

Annabelle (Review) - Go See the Scary Friggin Doll Movie.

Let's not fluff James Wan anymore than we have to. I love him. (not like that... okay, maybe like that). That's what I keep thinking as I'm about to write a review about a movie that is a prequel to his hit The Conjuring (or spin off or whatever you want to label it to get the asses in the seats). While Wan is listed as a Producer on Annabelle, this is not a James Wan movie, and that is absolutely okay. Let's give credit where credit is due; John R. Leonetti was the cinematographer on a bunch of great horror including Dead Silence, Insidious, Insidious 2 and Child's Play 3... oh and the Conjuring... so there will absolutely be consistency between the two pictures. Leonetti... you did a great job. There are a few points that prospective viewers are going to want to know about this movie, and I would like the opportunity to address them because there's going to be some division. I can hear the rants already. Some of you have already posted your tirades. I have not read them (I don't like tirades). Enough introduction. Let's fuckin' do it, dammit.

Annabelle is great. It's exactly what I hoped it would be and though I thought the trailer gave away too much, it actually didn't. I was surprised. I was scared. I was gripping the arms of my chair. I had a great time. For starters that's how I left the theater tonight. I felt very positive about the overall experience, and I think the audience did too judging by several loud female screams and a bunch of guys yelling, "oh shit!" or some such verbiage followed by laughter (that means they were actually scared because when they laugh they're still trying to look cool to their dates). When you leave the theater this pumped up, the next thing you do is listen to death metal on the drive home. I think I should just pull an all-nighter and drink some coffee.

Is Annabelle better than The Conjuring? Nope, and don't expect a movie to be that good for some time. I loved The Conjuring. I don't expect the sequel to be as good, and that's okay. I consider it to have had a lasting effect on me, and I'm glad that I can recommend that to anyone seeking a scary movie. The Conjuring is one of the highest grossing horror films of all time (that's from Wiki). Annabelle can't live up to that. It simply can't. You are already familiar with the concept. You know the rub, but even that's okay because it's a great ghost story. Often great ghost stories are the ones we tell over and over again (as opposed to zombie stories where telling them over and over again simply lines someone's pockets). So if you set your expectation correctly ie you don't wait to have James Wan and Co. scare the fuck out of you while dangling hotties Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in front of you... you're good. You should enjoy this movie.

The effects are practical, and if there's CG it isn't noticeable save for some few scenes where I simply wasn't sure if it really was computer generated or if they were just getting clever with practical. Doesn't matter. You won't be like, "that zombie's brains just pixalated".  The cam can get shakey at times. It's is NOT a found footage flick (this will make you happy... most of you), but man I wish the camera shake when tracking could be better. It may build a sense chaos or panic, but if I notice it, the suspension of disbelief has been ruined.

It's rated R, but it's not an R rated movie (this is the other side of the goddamn PG-13 argument you dirty fuckers). It's simply scary. There's some blood. There's some violence and slight chaos. It's a good scary movie to bring your "ready for horror" kids too. No gore really. Just blood. And scary shit. So I urge parents who have mature kids to bring them especially if they liked The Conjuring. They'll scream. It's good for their cardiovascular system. Warning: there's a pregnant woman in the movie and she is the focus of some of the violence. This may fuck some of you up (because I was scratching at my neck and pawing the chair).

The doll is fucking scary looking and you see how it got to be that way. It's a reasonable origin story. Some of the movie gets a wee bit religious for my taste, but then again religious horror always seems to feel more real anyway because people want positive religion to save them from evil shit. I suppose that's pretty evident in The Exorcist (between which you can definitely draw comparison with Annabelle). There's plenty of the word "Satanist" thrown around too. Bet that'll piss somebody off. I love horror that involves cult groups or the occult or black magic (which seems totally contradictory to what I just above). Appropriate jump scares are used throughout the film, and I was effected by ALL of them. I love that. It's the reason I drink triple the caffeine before going to see creepy movies. I simply forgot the little tune associated with the doll. It's still in my head!

Great casting with actors with which I was unfamilar but ended up loving. I fuckin' love these guys. Like I wanna have Thanksgiving dinner with them or some kind of picnic lunch. Everyone did a great job.

Final thought: If you own a doll collection, you deserve the consequences of collecting the army of SATAN... don't be stupid! You watch the same movies that I do.. Best bet? Lineup your GI-Joe figures like I did when I was a kid facing the porcelain dolls in your sisters room and let them sort it out.

See Annabelle. Give it a good box office showing because it's great for October and perfect to get a few scares out of you if you let it. There will be a Conjuring II soon enough (studio, don't fuck that up). Stop crossing your arms when you go to a theater being a cynical cunt. Nobody likes that. My theater didn't have that at all. I even made a couple of friends and we got to talk about the new Halloween box set and Italian Horror and The Conjuring. That's what I want from a movie going experience.. that and cheap glances at couples making out because it's better than Cinemax these days.

It's in theaters now.  You wanted a replacement to the October Paranormal Activity annual release... this would be the perfect choice. Let's follow The Warrens and the events surrounding their investigations. So this would be a good time to spend your vote on a ticket.

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