Annabelle (2014) | Rosemary’s Baby meets Chucky in the 1970’s-set prequel to the hit horror chiller The Conjuring

Annabelle (2014)

What do you get if you fuse elements of Rosemary’s Baby with Chucky, the possessed doll from the Child’s Play movies? Annabelle, that’s what. This 1970’s-set prequel to the hit horror The Conjuring sees young church-going Californian couple, Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton), coming under supernatural attack after a satanic cult member gives demonic life to a vintage doll.

Annabelle (2014)

Let’s face it, dolls are creepy-looking at the best of times (as are clowns in my book), but Annabelle is particularly so. First glimpsed at in The Conjuring, where she was locked up inside a glass case at an occult museum, Annabelle (who looks like Chucky in period drag) gets her own chilling back story in this modestly budgeted horror, which opens with a very disturbing home invasion scene that eerily echoes the infamous 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate at the hands of Charles Manson’s cult members (whose trial takes place on TV in the movie).

Annabelle (2014)

Tate, of course, was married to Roman Polanski, the director of the superior 1968 satanic suspenser, Rosemary’s Baby, which this film borrows heavily from. And the connections are plain to see: Wallis’ character is named after Mia Farrow (aka Rosemary), and it’s set in an apartment not unlike The Dakota that’s featured in Polanski’s film (it even features the same noises from the upstairs neighbours). Elsewhere, Alfre Woodard’s Evelyn is essentially a female version of Maurice Evans’ Hutch (Rosemary’s friend who believes her wild tale about devil worship), and there’s another occult tome (The Devil’s Welcome) that reveals all about the satanic cult (called the Disciples of the Ram in this movie) that Mia suspects is out to steal her young daughter’s soul.

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And the classic horror links continue: the house catching fire in the beginning is identical to the one in Halloween, while Tony Amendola‘s Father Perez is cut from the same clerical cloth as those ministers of arcane knowledge in The Omen, The Exorcist and the like. And let’s not forget the twist ending, which also has parallels to another Polanski thriller, The Tenant.

Annabelle (2014)

But while it lacks the genuine frights that made The Conjuring so memorable, Annabelle is a modestly effective chiller with a solid cast and at least two genuine shocks; and the real scares on offer are in what you don’t see – which is always a plus in my books.

Annabelle screens on Sky Movies Premiere from Friday 24 July 2015 and is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon (click here)

The Conjuring is also available to rent on YouTube (click here)

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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on February 13, 2015, in Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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