The director is John R. Leonti and the script trust Gary Doberman. The plot centers on a young and likable family and its origins are supposed to be creepy with the same notorious Annabelle horror. While Mia (Annabelle Wallis, “The Theodore”) and John (Ward Horton) are expecting the girl, the loving partner finds and buys his wife an old doll (guess who), the latest in a series of dolls she collects.
While he is busy completing his medical studies and then long hours as a doctor on night shifts, the atmosphere is comfortable for the doll in question to become a threatening source. An unspecified event not to be ruined, which is one of the highlights of the film (which is a pity it comes and ends at the beginning), provides the origin story for why Annabel turns a harmless collector’s item into something much worse.
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The main focus of the film is on the anxieties she stirs up for Maya, a young mother who also feels a bit agitated when she stays home all day alone with her baby daughter. With the exception of Evelyn (Alpera Woodard), a kind-hearted neighbor with an understanding of dark magic, Missia has no relatives or friends who host her for a company, so it’s easy to feel empathy for her. This is also the moment when she is uncertain whether she really suffers from a puppet who is chasing her and wants to do horrible things to her or her daughter, or is she just going crazy.
The plot tends to be a medium minus. For the self-conscious, fresh-faced horror-lovers who are sure a movie with a hideous doll will be somewhat similar to a Chuckie movie series, it’s time to say that Annabelle, unlike Chuckie, has no sense of humor. Everything she causes is done and taken abysmally seriously.
Mia looks bleak most of the time, and her husband is the epitome of the busy man who doesn’t understand what’s going on with his wife who is supposed to be a happy housewife. From this point of view, the film presents a critical snapshot of the condition of women in previous decades, but it does not go in that direction.
The doll looks annoying from the first moment and makes me think that anyone who consciously chooses to collect items that look like it shouldn’t be surprised that her sewing machine works on its own. And the things she makes and the reasons and desires behind her are almost as heavy and predictable as Mia’s repeated screams in every scene that is supposed to surprise.
The motif of the fresh and undermined mother who is perpetually paranoid in a large apartment building is immediately reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s “creepy Rosemary’s baby”. But Wallis and Horton lack the charisma and acting skills of Mia Farrow and John Casbats. The mystery of the 1968 classic does not exist here, because most of the answers about what happens to Mia and why we get very quickly, and the solutions are simplistic and even lacking.
In addition, the film is saturated with the superficial occupation of Christianity, which is presented in such a dreary way that even those who join the field may find themselves tiring. The couple occasionally visits the sermons from which we get to hear select quotes, consult a priest (Tony Amandola), but just like Mia and John’s conflict-free relationship, the relationship with the pastor has no real interest. No character in this movie comes to any real fulfillment, no discussion of what’s going on comes to an argument about sanity versus belief, it’s all about pretty much rest, and the same.
So why see “Annabel”? Maybe his first part does manage to be interesting and tense, even though his sequel doesn’t. And if you are really, but only really afraid of dolls, he might work effectively for you. He mainly emphasizes that when it comes to the realm of horror, box office success is not a measure of quality.