After a disappointing first movie, I was highly sceptical about the prequel. But the trailers and teasers rolled in, and I became excited. Could this outdo the first movie? Could this be better? Would this give fans the prequel they deserve that links The Conjuring to Annabelle? Then came the word of mouth reviews that the movie was 'great', 'awesome', 'chilling', 'creepy', and 'better than the first one by far!' After hearing these - and more positive comments - I set up a date to go watch this movie in the hopes that I'd walk out of the theatre satisfied and pleasantly spooked.
And that's exactly what happened!
I'll start with the best policy: honesty. The first fifteen minutes are somewhat slow-paced, building the story, establishing a pace, introducing the characters and their relevance and history. So don't be impatience, give it a minute! But I assure you, after those fifteen minutes, you'll be begging for a rest from the jumps and creepiness.
The story, explaining how Annabelle came into light, is set in the home of Samuel Mullins and his wife Esther who live in desolation, away from the prying eyes of people. Even years after the sudden death of their daughter, they are still grief-stricken, and as it turns out fear-stricken.
Sam kindly opens his home to Sister Charlotte and six young girls who would have been left homeless after the closing of their orphanage had it not been for their generosity. But from the very first night, it is clear something is not quite right. There is a room forbidden to the young girls. But, being curious, one girl happens to go inside, despite specific orders not too. This starts the endless hauntings and unexplainable occurrences.
We have moments of chilling terror, quick jumps, and pure eeriness. I was impressed with the diversity of the scares. While obviously the bulk of the horror is focused on the mysterious doll found in a locked bedroom, there are other entities out to scare us sh*tless!
The atmospheric buildup in this is superb, I have to say. Props to the director (David. F. Sandberg) for bringing a fresh lease of life into the 'possessed doll' sub-genre within horror. David is a fairly new director. You may have seen 'Lights Out' which was also an impressive flick that had originally been a short film, made into a full-length feature.
The acting, from the entire cast, was excellent. They brought genuine characters to the story. They showed confusion, frustration, and fear, flawlessly. We had conflict and confrontation among the young girls, as expected when living together 24/7. But they all banded together upon the realization that something in that house was out to get them.
This movie had every ingredient necessary for a great horror movie, and they were mixed deliciously. We have brilliant acting, moments of sheer terror, tense atmospheric buildup, and an original story. Overall, us horror fans were given a respectful prequel that links well to the Annabelle movie, and the Conjuring franchise. And the ending will have the true horror buffs geeking out, trust me on that.
I'd rate it a must-see horror movie.
Bestselling horror author, marketer, blogger, reviewer, business owner, freelance writer.