There were only two, count em', two well constructed and (more importantly) scary sequences throughout this entire HORROR MOVIE (the home invasion part and the elevator bit). If that fact alone is enough to get one person not to watch "Annabelle", then I've done my job as a critic.
If you went into "Annabelle" wanting to see something along the lines of "Child's Play" or at the very least, a doll-centric horror movie where dolls are either animated in some fashion or at the very least, trip someone as they walk down the stairs, then you will be savagely disappointed. On the other hand, if you were a fan of the small snippet of Annabelle's story shown in "The Conjuring" and wanted a terrifying and in-depth origins story, then you
will be disappointed as well.
Synopsis: With an engaging set up, set against the rampant cult-phobia of the 60's, "Annabelle" is the story of a couple living in California who begin to experience paranormal occurrences after the husband gifts his pregnant, doll-crazed wife a doll, that soaks up blood faster than a Bounty paper towel. After that, the plot falls pretty flat by turning its focus away from the scary doll element, as the story becomes 10% "Rosemary's Baby", 20% every single haunted house movie ever and 70% watered down scares.
Aside from the fact that not for one second did I care about any of the characters here, for the most part director John R. Leonetti (the director of photography of "The Conjuring") does a lazy job of "conjuring" up scares. For about 80 minutes of this 98 minute film, every single scare follows the ultra uncreative quiet, quiet, quiet, LOUD, formula. About 20 minutes in, it becomes obvious that Leonetti is either just going through the motions or doing a rather poor job of plagiarizing much scarier films.
Final Thought: Much like the countless throw away, straight to DVD Disney animated sequels to come out of late the 90's and early 2000's (Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World, The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea, Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True") "Annabelle" (a prequel) is nothing more than a soulless money-grab from this particular production company, attempting to feed off the success of "The Conjuring". No mention of Ed and Lorraine Warren (real life paranormal investigators from "The Conjuring") no James Wan (the director of "The Conjuring") and not one doll-induced scare, all seemed to have a hand in making "Annabelle" a strikingly forgettable film. I mean, in "The Conjuring", the Annabelle doll is only used in all of three scenes, but due to some smart direction, those are some of the scariest potions of the movie. In "Annabelle", the titular doll is used throughout and it's not even a little bit creepy. What gives?