‘Before The Conjuring there was’
Annabelle is a 2014 American horror film produced by James Wan and directed by John R. Leonetti (cinematographer on The Woods; Piranha 3D; Insidious and its sequel) from a screenplay by Gary Dauberman (In the Spider’s Web; Bloodmonkey; Swamp Devil; It).
Annabelle was released worldwide on October 3, 2014 by Warner Bros and New Line Cinema. With a reported budget of $6.5 million, it grossed a massive $256,873,813 worldwide. A sequel, and probably a franchise, were inevitable and so Annabelle 2 is slated for release on May 19, 2017.
The film was released on a Blu-ray / DVD combo and Digital HD on January 13, 2015 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray features deleted scenes plus four featurettes.
John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia—a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long…
On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult (modelled on the Manson Family), who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.
“Too many horror films are content looking cheap in the guise of claustrophobia or atmosphere, but like its spiritual predecessor The Conjuring this one looks and feels authentic. Period details ring true, the scary elements have weight and texture the likes of which CGI can’t touch and the performances are strong throughout.” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
“You would think that a man who has been working on horror films as far back as Child’s Play 3 in 1991 would have an idea of how to create mood, tension and atmosphere, but Leonetti fails miserably to the point where there are more unintentional laughs than scares. Lacklustre jump scares, poorly designed creatures and a horrendous score are just some of the problems Annabelle faces in attempting to terrify its audience.” Luke Owen, Flickering Myth
“Gary Dauberman’s haphazard screenplay merely piles on the cheap scares, with director Leonetti cranking the volume up to 11 to accentuate the frequent jolts. It all adds up to a compendium of horror movie cliches, including fleeting images of a demonlike figure … But the film is ultimately so generic and formulaic that you’ll probably forget it by the time you get home.” Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“The title character is an impressive piece of propwork, and Leonetti’s restraint in never animating it like Chucky in Child’s Play is a good thing. Meanwhile, the human beings feel as plastic as Barbie dolls.”Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
“Director John R. Leonetti and writer Gary Dauberman work proficiently enough on a technical level to craft a few scenes that get the heart racing, but the climax of “Annabelle” is so misguided, silly and even offensive that any excuse genre fans may be inclined to make for the mediocre hour-and-a half that precedes it will likely turn to rage.” Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Boasting a strong opening, where the aforementioned neighbours are horrifically murdered from the point of view of the Gordon’s room, things quickly take a turn for the lame when the young couple move into their new place – a soulless apartment block. The film then becomes a conveyor belt of horror character cliches… the priest, the spiritual pal the lonely wife has to confide in, some creepy kid foreseeing the tragic…” Mike Sheridan, entertainment.ie
“A couple of good jumps but this Conjuring spin-off is led down by poor writing, anodyne leads and an overwhelming sense of familiarity.” Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
The Langham Apartments, 715 South Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA