Annabelle (2014) Film Review


Annabelle Title

Annabelle DemonJames Wan has made a name for himself over the last 10 or so years as making good (mostly) horror films, Insidious: Chapter 2, Saw and The Conjuring just to name a few. Unfortunately Anabelle (2014) will not be another one on that list. The John R. Leonetti directed film could have been half an hour and it would have been more entertaining, the first two thirds are predictable and boring to say the least. There are many things that Anabelle did wrong and the first error may have been deciding who to get or was available to write this prequel/spin off to The Conjuring based on the haunted doll. You would think that someone as successful as James Wan would have learnt from errors made in the past. It would be fair to say that Insidious Chapter 2 is better than is predecessor, It could be argued that this is because both insidious films have the same people involved in the writing, James Wan and Leigh Whannell. This allowed Insidious Chapter 2 to learn from the mistakes of Insidious, whereas Anabelle is not written by the twin brothers Carey and Chad Haynes who wrote The Conjuring and for me, it shows. Taking out the first hour or so and ignoring that most of the best parts are all stolen from other films, it’s not bad. Anabelle is just so unoriginal all the way through the film you’re reminded of others, and you can’t help but notice that the others did it better. Also I’m not sure what this fascination with Darth Maul like demons is about, but it doesn’t work. At all.

Anabelle is set before The Conjuring and tells the tale of how the doll that appears in The Conjuring becomes possessed. Whilst having good foundations for Anabelle, it almost becomes over complicated and there is unnecessary depth to the story that it prevents it from making sense and slightly contradicts The Conjuring. Anyway, the film has two main characters, MiaAnnabelle Chair (Annabelle Wallis) and John Form (Ward Horton). The film starts with Mia being pregnant and they are trying to prepare the baby’s room, this leads to John buying a doll to add to the collection, I don’t need to say what doll it is, it’s pretty obvious. One night their neighbours are attack by two crazy, cult driven people, due to one of the crazy pair dying whilst holding the doll that was purchased earlier by John, the woman’s blood drips on to the doll and hence starts the possessing of the doll.

 

As the film goes on Mia, who was already pregnant at the start of the film has her baby and the hauntings get increasingly worse despite the couple moving house. At the this point the films seems to be improving slightly, creepy jump scares here and there show promise but when it finally starts to get slightly tense it’s ruined by the demon that looks like a black version of the demon in Insidious and the demon was pretty shit then so god knows when it was even considered is puzzling. With the ‘hauntings’ becoming too much for Mia and John, she decides to do more research on her attackers and like many films, she notices a reoccurring symbol which reveals the intent of the attackers. A friend of Mia named Evelyn (Alfre Woodward) is knowledgeable with ghosts and ghouls and ends up helping Mia with her ‘demon’ problem.

Annabelle Crazy Woman

Sadly, this film didn’t live up to The Conjuring and doesn’t deserve to be mentioned alongside The Conjuring. Annabelle is a predictable, poorly delivered film and most likely disappointed a large amount of the audience despite the few jumpy scenes. If you’ve ever watched a paranormal horror film you’ve seen this and this isn’t going to blow you away or leave you staying up all night in fear. Even the easily pleased won’t be ecstatic with this, it’s hard to look at the positives. However, the cinematography is fantastic, it’s just a shame that what’s happening lets it down. I would also praise the music however it’s pretty much the same as The Conjuring, if the film had been better I would have probably given it praise. Have fun if you decide/decided to watch this, let me know what you thought?

Rating: 3.5/10

Dracula Untold (2014) Film Review


Dracula Ttile

Light spoilers.

Dracula - SarahDracula Untold is an action/adventure/dark fantasy film with the main character, Prince Vlad III Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), being portrayed by the Welsh born actor Luke Evans. The film centres around Vlad and his family, Wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon) and Son, Ingeras (Art Parkinson). What is fascinating about this film is the links from history and the fictional novel, Dracula. It’s believed that the character Dracula, created by Bram Stoker, was inspired by Prince Vlad as there are many references to Prince Vlad throughout the Novel, however this film links history and fiction to have Prince Vlad becoming Dracula.

Prince Vlad is your typical main character in a this type of film, good intentions with a nasty past, it makes for good viewing but is slightly predictable. The film does well to encourage the audience to sympathise with Prince Vlad, being given away as a young boy to train and fight in an army isn’t a nice thought. On a scouting mission a helmet is found in a stream by Vlad and his group, Vlad believes there must be Turks on his Transylvanian land, his only intention, keep the peace. Prince Vlad and two others climb up a Mountain and reach a cave, they go in and this leads to the first but brief encounter with Caligula (Charles Dance), a Roman Emperor turned ‘demon’ that holds the ‘powers of the night.’ Vlad is the only one to make it out of the cave alive, and immediately returns back to Castle Dracula with what he witnessed clearly troubling him, he decides to learn more about the ‘demon’ he come across in the cave.

Charles Dance - Dracula

The next day a group of Turks interrupt Prince Vlad and his small population’s Easter party, which leads to the Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper) requesting 1000 boys to join their army, this is something that Prince Vlad is strongly against as it is what happened when he was a boy. Prince Vlad aware that he doesn’t have an army big enough to prevent the Turks and his old friend Mehmed II from going to war with him, this inspires Prince Vlad to go up to the cave of the ‘demon’ and ask for help, after much explanation about the ‘power of the night’ Prince Vlad drinks Caligula’s blood which give Prince Vlad his powers for 3 days, or permanently if Prince Vlad is to give in to his thirst for human blood.

Dracula Mehmed II

As Dracula is such a well-known story, throughout the film the audience is just waiting, waiting for the moment that will see Prince Vlad change into the infamous Dracula. However it doesn’t happen in the way that is probably expected. Prince Vlad, as the film develops, becomes more of a likable character, showing the audience that even the greatest of evil, Dracula, could have come from an act of selflessness. The story is not perfect but is a nice change from the normal remakes with ‘The Beginning’ smacked on the end of the title to make it sound original.

Although the film was not as thrilling in a dark way as I thought it may have been, it was still entertaining with great acting from all, especially Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon and Charles Dance, even with the little screen time Dance had, he really gave off a creepy feel which suited his character down to the ground. Luke Evans looked insanely cool throughout the film and was convincing enough for most to maybe feel some sympathy for this interpretation of Dracula. Dracula Untold gave the impression it is just the start (providing it does well) which is something that I would be excited about.

Dracula Luke Evans

The film offers some very impressive action with the use of CGI, however does become quiet predictable and doesn’t really get used to its full potential. Many have criticised the film, plot holes are present in most films, but I think the majority have misunderstood the film as a whole. It’s not a remake, it’s a reboot, it’s changing or rather creating the roots of Dracula, giving it a platform to build from. I am interested to see what genre would lead the sequel, would it be a horror or would it carry on the action and steer clear of the high tension thriller horror film? I would love to see Luke Evans as a mysterious bloodsucking Count Dracula, we may find out if there is a sequel.

Rating: 7.5/10