annabell posterThe best thing about this movie is the actual doll, who doesn’t get near enough screen time. It reminds me of Bette Davis as Baby Jane, a slattern in too much makeup with crazy eyes. But unlike her male counterpart, Chucky, Annabelle doesn’t talk. The possessed doll instead exerts its evil influence as a conduit for the Devil’s henchpersons. This is accompanied by the usual array of horror cliches, including creaking doors (seriously), household objects that move or operate on their own, apparitions gliding by in the background unbeknownst to the heroine, the failed intercession of a cleric, and of course, the epilogue that let’s us know that despite one resolution the evil will return. (When the screen went black just prior to this epilogue, I said out loud “Six Months Later”… right before the words appeared on the screen.) Matters are not aided by the bland, uninvolving leads — younger, duller versions of Naomi Watts and, maybe, Ben Affleck. There are moments when you think it might get better, but overall, this is just an October place-filler. — Jeff Schultz




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