‘Annabelle’ film fails to instill fear

Josh Dean

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The Halloween season usually brings a fresh assortment of horror and things that bump in the night.

This year brings us “Annabelle,” the prequel to “The Conjuring,” and the back story behind that malicious porcelain doll.

The movie, directed by John R. Leonetti, starts off in a typical but strong fashion.

A couple with a child on the way moves into the ideal 1960s suburbia full of hope for the future. All is well and bright in the world until the classic conduit for evil and demons is brought into the house: the doll.

Viewers are rattled in their seats as they witness through a bedside window the brutal murder of the couple’s neighbors by their estranged daughter, Annabelle, and her cultist friend.

The neighbors’ daughter and her friend bring the violence into the new loving couple’s home and are eventually killed by police, but not before a bit of blood from Annabelle spills into the doll.

Leonetti displays rare cinematic moments, but everything is predictable. The effects and props used in the movie are laughable at best, taking away from any element of fear.

The movie falls back on old and tired clichés of appliances turning off and on, doors slamming shut and noises heard in the night. While this suceeded in “The Conjuring,” it falls flat here.

Suspense is poorly built and the viewer is dragged through yet another foreseen pop up scene.

Neither Annabelle Wallis, who plays mother Mia, nor Ward Horton, her devoted husband, evoke real empathy from the audience.

Mia’s never able to face the demons that haunt her and her newborn. This is just boring.

“Annabelle” was built on the coattails of its predecessor. It lacks the ingenuity and thought that separates the truly terrifying from the simply alarming.