Anabelle is a prequel to last year's incredibly well-made horror flick, The Conjuring. The movie tells the story of a married couple's experience with a doll called "Annabelle". If you have seen The Conjuring, you would know that it delivered horror through empathy and psychology. The story build up wasn't boring and it was scary from start to finish. Well, it isn't the same deal with Anabelle.
Let's talk horror. For me, babies getting hurt and stabbings really get me in the spot. I don't get scared by them but I get disgusted and I cringe. The first act of the movie is not scary at all. It is full of Paranormal Activity - esque cheap jump scares. It includes cringe worthy sequences that are disturbing but in terms of actual horror, it was disappointing. However the second act is when it gets interesting.
[Mild spoilers in this paragraph] In the second act, the audience finds out that the doll isn't actually possessed but there is a demon following it. There is an amazing scene in a basement where there are flickering lights and you see the creature for the first time. That scene was very well executed and the best part of the movie. I thought they would continue the whole theme of "The doll is evil and we must perform an exorcism" so this was very refreshing and it's where the good jump scares really kick in.
In movies, the third is when the most memorable and impacting part of the movie takes place. In The Conjuring, there is the exorcism with cuts to the children. In the beginning of this movie, there is a lot of boring build up but I wanted to be alright with it because I thought it would lead to an epic finale but I was wrong. When the final "fight" was over, I ended up questioning myself, whether that was really it.
In terms of acting, do not expect the high quality acting that you saw from The Conjuring but expect a bland one. The husband's whole way of trying to calm people down makes him more of an annoying character than a generous one that people can relate to. The wife's acting although better to her opposite lead was still not awing. There is a difference between being scared and widening your eyes.
The movie's photography, besides a scene with flickering lights is bland. I think the technique of having POV shots of an unknown view watching the family was a little bit overused. Nothing too impressive.
Overall, this is your classic halloween horror flick, not another Conjuring. It's pretty bland but if you like horror movies, it's worth a watch.
Overall Score: 5.5/10