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Watch Annabelle (2014), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

 

Annabelle (2014)

A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Annabelle is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by John R. Leonetti, written by Gary Dauberman and produced by Peter Safran and James Wan. It is a prequel to the 2013 film The Conjuring and the second installment in The Conjuring Universe franchise. The film was inspired by a story of a doll named Annabelle told by Ed and Lorraine Warren.[3] The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard.

A spin-off focusing on the origins of the Annabelle doll that was introduced in The Conjuring was announced shortly after The Conjurings release, mainly due to its worldwide box office success and the positive reception towards the depiction of the doll. Principal photography began in January 2014 in Los Angeles.

Annabelle premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on September 29, 2014, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 3, 2014, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. Annabelle received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom felt the film inferior to its predecessor, praise for atmosphere but it was a major box office success, grossing over $257 million against its $6.5 million production budget. A prequel, titled Annabelle: Creation, was released on August 11, 2017. A sequel, titled Annabelle Comes Home, was released on June 26, 2019.

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Annabelle (2014) Trailer

 

Annabelle (2014) Reviews

A word of advice for horror movie producers: If you’re going to riff on ‘70s horror classics like “The Omen” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” make sure to look more deeply at why those films connected with viewers rather than just stealing their imagery. Merely mimicking them aesthetically is a hollow exercise, and proof that you don’t understand that horror is more than a series of jump cuts and frightening images. Horror, at its best, taps into something deeper.There’s nothing deep about “Annabelle,” the spin-off of “The Conjuring.” It offers surface level scares without the undercurrent of humanity needed to make them register. 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.

For the record—and it’s worth noting because of how angry our original review of “The Conjuring” still makes fans of that film—I was a fan of James Wan’s 2013 ghost story. The director took a giant leap forward in that work, proving he understands numerous elements that modern horror directors ignore, such as the use of sound design and setting to create tension. These elements are discarded in “Annabelle.”If you saw the 2013 hit, you remember the creepy doll that wouldn’t go away. Ghostbusters Lorraine and Ed Warren kept Annabelle in a locked case, recognizing the true evil held within. How did Annabelle go from a relatively harmless but totally creepy doll to a tool of the devil? “Annabelle” tries to tell that story, using the Manson Murders and “Rosemary’s Baby” as a backdrop.

Some may be tempted to write off “Annabelle” on concept alone, in that it’s something of a cash grab, like a straight-to-video sequel designed to strike while a hit predecessor’s iron is still hot. Still, I would argue that “Annabelle” has the core of a good film within it. It’s about how changing times in the ‘70s, when otherwise safe neighborhood dwellers started locking their doors and apartment denizens began to suspect their neighbors; the iconography of youth became sinister. You can sense shreds of this idea in “Annabelle,” but the film doesn’t develop them.

We learn that Annabelle was owned by a lovely young couple named Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton). In the run-up to the birth of their first child, John gave his wife the doll as a part of her extensive collection. As Mia nears her due date, the couple faces unimaginable horror in the form of a pair of Satanic cultists who break in, stab Mia in the belly, and end up dead in their home.

The female cultist happens to be named Annabelle Higgins, and some of her blood lands on the doll Annabelle. Before you know it, Mia is seeing shadowy figures on the stairs, hearing noises in the night and realizing that something evil wants her baby.

Thematically, nothing in “Annabelle” is developed beyond a level that might make it suitable for horror movie manipulations. When we meet religious characters like Father Perez (Tony Amendola), “Annabelle” threatens to take on some “The Exorcist” or “The Omen”-like undertones, chronicling a time when some felt that Americans lost touch with their religious institutions.

But the movie doesn’t really go there. When no one believes Mia’s haunting stories, “Annabelle” threatens to become a piece about how new mothers can be ignored, their concerns portrayed as the byproduct of hormones. But this notion isn’t developed, either.

There are other problems. Wallis and Horton are remarkably unengaging leads. She mumbles, he over-emotes, and the doll is allowed to steal scenes. And the film is visually flat. Pan reveals (panning across a door or room to reveal something in the background) are over-used, and the sound is mixed to grating levels. It’s a movie that screams “Boo!” instead of trying to get under your skin. There is one great set piece involving a storage unit in the basement and an elevator that just won’t leave it, but that’s something you can watch on cable later, while ignoring the weak film that surrounds it.
  • Brian Tallerico  –  Roger Ebert
  • Brian Tallerico is the Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Annabelle (2014) Credits

Annabelle movie poster

Annabelle (2014)

Rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror

99 minutes

Cast

Annabelle Wallis as Mia

Ward Horton as John

Tony Amendola as Father Perez

Alfre Woodard as Evelyn

Director

  • John R. Leonetti

Writer

  • Gary Dauberman

Cinematography

  • James Kniest

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Annabelle (2014) Plot

In Santa Monica, California, John Form, a doctor, presents his expectant wife Mia with a rare vintage porcelain doll as a gift for their first child to be placed in a collection of dolls in their daughter’s nursery.

That night, the couple is disturbed by the sounds of their next door neighbors, the Higgins, being murdered during a home invasion. While Mia calls the police, she and John are attacked by the Higgins’ killers. The police arrive and shoot one killer, a man, dead while the female killer kills herself by slitting her throat inside the nursery while holding the doll. News reports identify the assailants as the Higgins’ estranged daughter, Annabelle, and her unidentified boyfriend, both members of a cult.

In the days following the attack, a series of paranormal activities occur around the Forms’ residence. Afterwards, Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl. She and John name their child Leah. The family rents an apartment in Pasadena and, after finding the doll that John had discarded since Annabelle’s previous attack in one of their boxes, another set of paranormal events plague Mia and her daughter. On one occasion, Mia sees a young girl. The girl starts to run toward her, then turns into a larger figure before disappearing.

Mia calls back Detective Clarkin to gather information about Annabelle and the cultists and learns that the cult intends to summon a demonic spirit. With the help of bookseller and fellow tenant Evelyn, Mia realizes that the cult practiced devil worship, which summoned a demon who followed the family after they moved to their apartment so as to claim a soul. Upon returning home, Mia and Leah are attacked by the demon who reveals itself while manipulating the doll.

Mia and John contact their parish priest, Father Perez, who informs them that demons sometimes attach themselves to inanimate objects as an advantage to accomplish their goals and that a human soul must be offered for a purpose. Without any hopes of exorcising the demon out of the doll, Father Perez decides to take it away to seek help from Judy Warren’s parents for investigation. But before he can enter the church, the demon impersonating Annabelle’s spirit attacks him and grabs the doll.

The priest is hospitalized on the next day and, when John checks on him, Father Perez warns the latter that after sensing its powerful presence, the demon’s true intention is to claim Mia’s soul. That night, while Evelyn is visiting Mia, the demon uses Father Perez’s physical form to sneak into the apartment and abduct Leah for her mother’s soul.

To spare her daughter, Mia attempts to jump out of the window with the doll but John arrives in time along with Evelyn to stop her. Evelyn decides to take her life in Mia’s place instead as atonement for causing a car accident that resulted in the death of her daughter Ruby years ago. As Evelyn lies dead on the road, the demon and the doll disappear. Mia and John never saw or heard of the doll again and Leah is safely inside her crib.

Six months later, the doll is bought from an antique shop by a mother as a gift for her daughter Debbie, a nursing student, and is seen stored and locked away into a glass case in the Warren’s artifact room.

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Annabelle (2014) Box office

Annabelle grossed $84.3 million in North America and $172.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $257 million, against a production budget of $6.5 million. In the United States and Canada, Annabelle is the fourteenth highest-grossing horror/supernatural film.

Early tracking projected Annabelle would gross around $25–27 million in its opening weekend. However, estimates declined shortly after to a range between $20–22 million. Annabelle was released on October 3, 2014, in 3,185 theatres in North America. It topped the box office in its opening day earning $15.4 million (including its $2.1 million midnight previews).

In its traditional three-day opening the film debuted at #2 at the box office with $37.1 million, at an average of $11,659 per theater from 3,185 theaters after a neck-and-neck competition against Gone Girl that earned $37.5 million. The two releases were separated by $378,854. Its opening weekend gross is the eleventh highest in October and the biggest for a horror genre film of 2014, surpassing The Purge: Anarchys $28.9 million opening.

Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said about the opening box office performance, “we had a wonderful campaign for the film and a good date”; she added “being a spinoff of The Conjuring set it up really well and we just hit the right note.” It is the second time that an October weekend has produced two $30 million or more debuts; the first was in 2008: High School Musical 3 ($42 million) and Saw V ($31 million).

To Rentrak, the opening weekend crowd was evenly split between females with 51% and under 25 years with 54%. The film’s theatrical run ended on December 18, 2014, and it earned a total of $84 million, becoming the thirty-fifth highest-grossing movie of 2014 in the US.

The film was released in Russia on September 26, 2014, a week prior to its wide release and earned $2.1 million on its opening weekend, debuting at No. 3 at the Russian box office. Overseas, in its opening weekend the film earned $23.6 million from nearly 3,300 screen and 39 foreign markets for a first-weekend worldwide total of $60.8 million.

High openings of Annabelle internationally were reported in France ($3.4 million), Brazil ($3 million), the UK ($3.1 million), Argentina ($1.2 million), Spain ($1.45 million) and Germany ($1.14 million). In India Annabelle debuted at #2 behind Bollywood blockbuster Bang Bang! and collected $1.3 million. It set an all-time opening record for a horror film in Peru with $1.34 million which is also Warner Bros. second biggest opening weekend of all time there overall.

In Mexico, the film earned $10.9 million (including previews) on its opening weekend and broke the record for the biggest debut ever for a horror movie, and the best 2D opening. Its opening weekend gross is also the third-biggest opening overall of 2014 behind Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction there. In total, the film took 59% of the total market share.

As of October 13, 2014, Annabelle has become the highest-grossing horror film in the Philippines, earning over ₱121.33 million. The film surpassed Insidious: Chapter 2s record (₱113 million), doing so after 12 days of release.The film has also become the highest-grossing horror movie in Lebanon after staying atop the box office for two weekends.

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Annabelle (2014) Critical Response

nnabelle received generally negative reviews from critics, many of whom felt the film inferior to its predecessor.

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 29% based on 135 reviews, with an average rating of 4.50/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Annabelle borrows unabashedly from better horror films, content to leave viewers with a string of cheap jolts that fail to build on the far more effective The Conjuring.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale.

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film for its cheap production and screenplay, but was positive towards the performances of the cast and saying, “the film is ultimately so scary and formulaic that you won’t forget it.”

Scott Foundas of Variety gave the film a positive review, calling the film “inspired” but periodically cheap. He added “a cut-rate spinoff from James Wan’s superlative haunted-house hit The Conjuring that (partly) makes up in crude shock effects, but lacks in atmosphere. Designed mainly as a starring vehicle for the eponymous, creepy-as-hell doll (who easily outclasses her human co-stars), this WB/New Line quickie is the thirst of die-hard genre fans and is by the far the best horror movie of the year”.

Pete Hammond of Deadline gave the film a positive review and said that the scary doll show has left him pining for Chucky in Child’s Play. He further added, “Annabelle may still draw horror fans in this Halloween month, and they will be quaking over the scares in this film.”

 

Annabelle (2014) Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Fright Meter Awards Best Supporting Actress Alfre Woodard Nominated
2015 Empire Awards Best Horror Annabelle Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Worst Film Annabelle Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Horror Poster New Line Cinema / Ignition Print Nominated
iHorror Awards Best Horror Character Annabelle doll Won
Best Horror Director John R. Leonetti Won
Best Mainstream Horror John R. Leonetti Won
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Annabelle Wallis Nominated
People’s Choice Awards Favorite Thriller Movie Annabelle Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Annabelle Nominated

Annabelle (2014) Movie Info

John Form (Ward Horton) thinks he’s found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia (Annabelle Wallis) : a vintage doll in a beautiful white dress. However, the couple’s delight doesn’t last long: One terrible night, devil worshippers invade their home and launch a violent attack against the couple. When the cultists try to summon a demon, they smear a bloody rune on the nursery wall and drip blood on Mia’s doll, thereby turning the former object of beauty into a conduit for ultimate evil.

 

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