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Annabelle

The horror movie genre is infamous for litanies of sequels and spin-offs. The endless ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’ attest to this. Few have been better than its predecessor with the quick cash-grab benefitting their financial backers. ‘Annabelle’ is a spin-off from ‘The Conjuring’ films. From the evidence within, the rush for box office bucks may seem as empty as the film’s plot.

John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are a married couple looking forward to parenthood. As a gift for his pregnant wife, John buys a rare vintage doll named Annabelle. This choice would have unfortunate consequences. When their home is invaded by a satanic cult, they put a curse upon the doll. Now a conduit from the depths of the damned, Annabelle’s wicked ways bring terror to those around her.

There’s nothing worse than seeing an unscary, bland horror movie like ‘Annabelle’. Although listed as its Director, John R Leonetti feels more like a programmer. Each scare is clearly signalled in advance so viewers are ready. When the alleged scares arrive, a loud noise accompanies it. This is extremely lazy horror film-making with the script borrowing bits from better films.

When a non-talking doll offers a better performance than its human co-stars then you know ‘Annabelle’ is in trouble. Apart from the always wonderful Alfre Woodard as the couple’s friend, the acting is as wooden as the material the doll is made from. If the screenplay had gone for high camp humour, it would have worked much better. Each scene plods into the next with boring predictability with the cheap production design mirroring the cynical cheapness of the movie’s producers.

The most horrific thing about ‘Annabelle’ is it made a huge amount of money and spawned two equally profitable sequels of its own. This is the type of film giving the genre a bad name, no matter how much it makes. ‘Annabelle’ is a waste of time with only the killer dolly’s fixed evil smile its most interesting facet.

Rating out of 10: 1

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