Annabelle ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Better than I would have expected from a cash-grab prequel like this. Smartly keeps much of the 70s filmmaking charm of The Conjuring, however when it strays from this style it’s jarring and noticeable (the low-light shots on digital cameras are shockingly out of place and immediately break the tension).

Having said that, there are some good scares to be had here. They smartly keep Annabelle herself inanimate, and the 3rd act shift of focus away from the cliché “white-nightgown-wearing-woman-with-long-black-hair-covering-her-face” to a genuinely freaky demon was a nice surprise (the demons first appearance in the basement and subsequently on the stairs is chilling).

Unfortunately the film drops the ball at the end. It backs out of a truly gut-wrenching scene in which a mother seeming inadvertently beats her baby to death (it’s actually done in a tasteful “off-screen” manner which makes it even more disturbing) and ends with a ludicrous and predictable self-sacrifice by the films “Magical Negro” that was visible from a mile away.

Still, despite the clichés and stylistic fumbles, there’s some spooky fun to be had with Annabelle.

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