Last summer, audiences were captivated by the first ten minutes of James Wan’s The Conjuring and its centerpiece, a creepy doll named Annabelle. Now, the doll has her own movie, the appropriately titled Annabelle.
Set one year before the events of The Conjuring, Annabelle is the story of a young married couple named John and Mia Form (Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis) who are expecting their first child. Late one night, their home is invaded by two members of a religious cult who viciously attack Mia. Mia and her baby survive, but one of the cult members commits suicide while holding one of Mia’s vintage dolls. Soon after, Mia starts to notice weird things happening around the house, with everything seeming to point back to the doll. When the baby is born, the activity surrounding the doll intensifies. John and Mia enlist the help of their priest (Tony Amendola) and the owner of an occult bookstore (Alfre Woodard) to figure out what is going on, and they learn that the cult raised a demonic force that is now using the doll as a conduit in an attempt to steal the soul of their infant daughter.
Because Annabelle is essentially a spinoff of The Conjuring, comparisons between the two movies are inevitable. They are similar in tone, but different in context; while The Conjuring was a The Amityville Horror type of a movie, Annabelle owes more to Rosemary’s Baby. James Wan takes on the producer role on Annabelle and passes the directorial duties over to his longtime cinematographer John R. Leonetti. Because Wan and Leonetti have so much history working together, Annabelle looks and feels like a James Wan film. It’s got the same darkness and dread of The Conjuring and the Insidious movies, and even uses many of the same devices; there are plenty of long, drawn out takes with lots of camera motion, as well as wide shots that always seem to be hiding something in the corner shadows. It exists within the same universe as The Conjuring, so it adheres to a consistent mythology. Toss in a creepy KNB EFX demon design and a suitably atonal Joseph Bishara musical score, and Annabelle accomplishes its objective; it becomes part of the James Wan canon without feeling like a direct rip-off of an earlier film.
The focal point of Annabelle is, obviously, the doll. What’s interesting about that fact is that the doll is a secondary character; it’s a necessary plot device, but the real story is about the family and the demon who wishes to destroy it. The Annabelle doll is basically a prop, although it is one with its own definite arc; she starts out new and innocent looking, but gets more and more worn down and ugly as the film progresses and the demon gains more of a foothold within her. The doll is a symbol of a greater evil rather than being the central antagonist, which is great; Chucky from Child’s Play is fun, but no one needs another one. There are more sinister forces at work in Annabelle.
Like The Conjuring, Annabelle has several scenes of maddening suspense, where the audience knows exactly what is going to happen, just not when. For example, in one segment, Mia is using her sewing machine while watching television. The camera cuts between shots of her fingers, the machine’s needle, and her distracted face, creating a sense of tension within the viewer that is nothing short of cringe-worthy. In another scene, Mia is attacked by the demon while in the basement of the building, and the resulting cat-and-mouse chase becomes one of the scariest elevator scenes ever committed to celluloid. One thing that Annabelle does better than The Conjuring or Insidious is deal with the demon. Basically, Leonetti barely shows the demon at all, so when the audience does get a quick glimpse, it’s absolutely terrifying. What the audience imagines is always scarier than what a filmmaker can show, and Annabelle understands this. When it comes to showing demons, less is more.
There are points in Annabelle where the film falls back onto stereotypes and tropes of the horror genre: an empty crib here, a spooky little girl ghost there. But, for the most part, Annabelle is a pretty original movie. And, unlike most of the movies about demonic possession that flood the theaters these days, Annabelle does not end with an exorcism. The bottom line is that Annabelle fits in perfectly with the rest of James Wan’s movies, and fans of his catalog will be fans of Annabelle.
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Watch Deleted Predator Tree Chase Scene From ‘Prey’
To celebrate the 4K UHD, Blu-ray™ and DVD release of last year’s movie Prey, 20th Century Studios has made available a deleted animated storyboard scene. In this clip, we see our heroine Naru in a foot chase with the Predator through the tree tops of the forest canopy.
The movie is already loaded with beautiful chase scenes and suspenseful set-ups but it is a shame we never got to see this one incorporated into the movie.
Prey came out on Hulu in 2022. It was a critical hit and fans seemed to love the unique stand-alone storyline. People did fall in love with Naru’s canine companion Sarii, whose real name is Coco. She had no previous film experience and was trained specifically for the movie.
The first video is the scene without commentary. The second one includes commentary from director Dan Trachtenberg.
‘Courtney Gets Possessed’ Looks Like The Satanic BFF Comedy of 2023
So your ex is the Devil himself and you’ve moved on to someone new. In fact, you are about to marry that person. But Satan is the jealous type and isn’t giving his blessing to this new arrangement. What to do? That is the premise of the new horror comedy Courtney Gets Possessed.
Just by watching the trailer, we get a sense this is a comedy about girl power and we love that. Last year My Best Friend’s Exorcism focused on one friend trying to eject a demon from her girlfriend’s soul, but in this movie, it looks like a whole wedding party gets involved.
With her nuptials on the line and the Prince of Darkness lurking close by, Courtney does her best to protect her childhood home on the eve of the wedding. But when her ne’er-do-well sister accidentally invites Satan inside (known more casually as Dave), he possesses Courtney – throwing a demonic wrench into her happily-ever-after plans. Courtney’s ragtag team of reluctant heroes including her sister, perfectionist best friend, and skeptical future sister-in-law must find a way to exorcise Dave, reclaim Courtney’s soul, and get her down the aisle with as little bloodshed as possible.
“In Sickness and in Hell” takes on a whole new meaning in this diabolically fun and thrilling romp. Audiences will be left pondering the line between love and possession and what it means to give ourselves to others. Will Courtney’s wedding bells ring or will they be drowned out by the screams of the damned?
Courtney Gets Possessed is written and directed by Jono Mitchell and Madison Hatfield. Produced by Hatfield and Jordan Blair Brown. Executive Produced by Stephen Beehler, Jegor Jersov, and Jono Mitchell. Cinematography by Brett A. Frager. Composed by Jordan Bennett. A Peach Jam Pictures production.
Courtney Gets Possessed will be available on digital and on Demand, Friday, November 3.
Vomit Bags Handed Out in Theaters as ‘Saw X’ is Called Worse Than ‘Terrifier 2’
Remember all the puking folks were doing when Terrifier 2 was released in theaters? It was an incredible amount of social media showing folks tossing their cookies in theaters at the time. For good reason too. If you have seen the film and know what Art the Clown does to a girl in a yellow room, you know that Terrifier 2 wasn’t messing around. But it appears that Saw X is being seen a challenger.
One of the scenes that is apparently bothering folks this time is the one in which a guy has to perform brain surgery on himself in order to hack out a chunk of grey matter that weighs enough for the challenge. The scene is pretty brutal.
The synopsis for Saw X goes like this:
Hoping for a miraculous cure, John Kramer travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure, only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable. Armed with a newfound purpose, the infamous serial killer uses deranged and ingenious traps to turn the tables on the con artists.
For me personally, I still think that Terrifier 2 owns this crown though. It is gnarly throughout and Art is brutal and doesn’t have a code or anything. He just loves killin’. While Jigsaw deals in revenge or in ethics. Also, we see the vomit bags, but I haven’t seen anyone using em just yet. So, I’ll remain skeptical.
All in all, I gotta say I like both films since both are sticking with practical effects instead of going the cheapy computer graphics way.
Have you seen Saw X yet? Do you think that it rivals Terrifier 2? Let us know in the comments section.