Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review - Annabelle (2014)

Ever since Chucky, people have been fascinated by killer dolls.  Sure, the trend of killer dolls in horror movies probably started before that, but that's when I first saw it.  Chucky spawned what, 5 or 6 sequels?  So there's obviously something to it.  Me, I stopped playing with dolls when I was, uh, in my 30's or so...  sooooo... it was ages ago.   Yea.  Ahem.  Well.  Moving on.

Annabelle (2014) is the story of a doll.  The story starts out innocently enough, when a pregnant wife and her loving husband move next door to a loving couple... who are murdered in their sleep by their psychotic daughter, Annabelle, and her satan-worshipping boyfriend.  As most parents are, or at least, in many of the horror movies I've seen.  So, after the husband and his pregnant wife manage to survive their attack in what might have been a long night of murders, they find out their nice new neighbors were murdered by a cult of Satanists.  Unfortunately, as it turns out, Annabelle's blood ended up on the pregnant wife's newest acquisition...  The latest in her collection of dolls.

If you've ever seen a horror movie in your life, you know this is where all hell breaks loose.

If I had a dollar for every time I've seen a movie start off with a cult of devil-worshipping Satanists trying to kill someone, I'd probably be a millionaire by now.  It's been a pretty common theme in horror movies for oh, probably the last 50 years or so, so I suppose it's a little overused by now.  Still, I guess if you really need to get demons, devils, possessions or some other supernatural entity into a movie, a cult of devil-worshippers is as good a way as any.

This movie was not a slow-starter, I'll give it that.  I'd barely started to notice that all the cars were old, and realized the movie must be set in the 70's, when BAM there's murderous cultists afoot, and blood everywhere.  It was like watching Charles Manson Family Christmas movies!  Actually, Charles Manson was mentioned on the TV at the beginning of the movie, to give you a heads-up, if you were paying attention.  I was, not that it gave me any clue of what was about to happen.  Of course, I'd seen The Conjuring, which mentions the Annabelle doll specifically, so I guess this is what, a prequel?  A sequel?  Different story altogether, I suppose.

The acting seems pretty decent.  Can't say as I've ever seen the pregnant wife and her husband in anything before, but the Priest is certainly familiar, as is the bookstore owner who lives near the new place the couple moves to.  The doll is certainly very creepy.  I'm actually watching the movie right now, by the way, so I can't say how the end works out, because I haven't seen it yet.  So far, the movie seems pretty good.

I'd say watch it at least once, because it's a bit creepy, and pretty entertaining.  Not many of those silly jump-scares, not too overdone on the supernatural aspect of things, but still a bit scary, at least atmospherically.  Annabelle is currently playing on Cinemax, if you happen to have that to check out the movie.  Oh, there's the end.  And, they left room for a sequel.  Awesome.  I guess I will be reviewing Annabelle 2 in another year or two.  heh.

What else has been going on...  Oh, I hear they're making another Sharknado movie, Sharknado 3.  Supposedly comes out in July, sometime.  Probably show up on Syfy channel first, then pop up on Netflix.  The first one was okay, but honestly, three movies about flying sharks?  Seriously?  I think at this point it'd be better to see Stone-nado or Fire-nado.  And yes, those are real things.  Stones are often tossed around as regular debris as part of a tornado, and fire-nados are referred to as Firestorms.  They happen fairly frequently during forest fires.  There you go, Syfy.  Your next disaster movie.  Fire-nado.  Get started on it.  And put Yancy Butler in it, because I totally have a thing for her.  Yea.  I know.  She's just adorable.  I saw her in the last Lake Placid vs Anaconda movie, but I haven't caught the end yet.  I hope her character survives.

I remember seeing Yancy in one of the other Lake Placid movies.  Must have been Lake placid, the Final Chapter (which it obviously wasn't, since she's in Lake Placid vs Anaconda).  Yancy is playing this reformed big-game-hunter's guide, forced to do public service work as a park ranger or something, and she's hanging out in this bar when the main female lead (whoever that was) of the movie comes in, with her boyfriend.  And she starts hitting on this girl's guy, and Yancy just goes from looking totally out of place as a park ranger to looking like she was born on the back deck of that bar, with a drink on her hand, and her voice turns to pure seduction, and it just seemed so totally natural.  I don't mean to sound like Yancy looks like she belongs in a bar with a drink in her hand (I guess she was an alcoholic at one time, so that might actually be the case), but she just seemed, I don't know, either like she turned on the charm or stopped acting and really was trying to seduce that guy.  I don't know.  In a way, I guess it was like watching Daniel Craig in a 007 movie saying he doesn't care about some girl getting murdered that he had just had sex with, and that one line out of the whole Casino Royale movie was totally believable, when all the rest wasn't.  Yancy's delivery of that one line was totally believable.  Not to say the rest of her acting isn't as good, but maybe she's just not as comfortable in a ranger's uniform.  Meh.  It was just very memorable, but then, I've been following Yancy's career since she was in Mann and Machine, a little-known cop/android detective series from the early 90's.  So yea, I guess I'm a bit of a fan of her work.

David Letterman has three more shows to do before ending his 33-year run as a talk show host on May 20th.  You know what I wonder?  What's next for Dave.  Will he retire almost completely, like Johnny Carson did, and make a few cameos on other talk shows?  Will he start doing philanthropy work, like Oprah?  Maybe he'll start his own network, too.  DaveTV.  Letterman Network?  L-Net?  LETV?  I wonder what it would show?  Honestly, I think Dave should get back into acting.  It didn't work out for Johnny Carson too well, but Dave had a bit of a go at it before starting his talk show.  I'd hate to say Dave spent too long doing his show, because frankly I think he's had a great run, but 33 years might be too long to be doing any one thing (even if he was getting 32 million a year for it).  There's a pic of him in an old Mork and Mindy episode on his IMDB page.  I'd like to say I remember him doing that, but I honestly don't, even though I did watch every episode of Mork and Mindy when it aired.  Yea, I am that old.  I am sure Robin Williams would have been one of the last guests on Dave's show, if Robin was still alive, but don't even get me started.  I'm still reeling from the loss of John Candy, back in 1994, but I guess I have to get over that sometime.  It's only been 21 years.  These things take time to sink in.  In any case, I think Dave still has a few good decades left in him for movie work.  Or, since he's already given so much to our general happiness, maybe he should just enjoy his twilight years in peace and quiet?  Well, it's not my call to make.  I'm sure Mr. Letterman will make his own decision, if he hasn't already.

In other news, I didn't post last weekend because I was ill.  Yes, again, but I'm feeling better now.  That's it for tonight, but maybe not this weekend.  I've got some movies in my DVR queue to look at.  Funny thing, I just figured out how to record an entire series (I only got DVR a couple months ago, so it's all new to me), just in time for the ends of all of my favorite shows.  Gotham, Agents of SHIELD, Grimm, all of them are over until the fall or spring.  I think the only one left to have a finale this season is Flash, and that's probably coming up next week.  I figured out my DVR just in time to catch David Letterman's last week of shows, too.  I wonder if he'll have Bill Murray on before his last show, or did he have him on already, and I missed it?  Ah, well.  I guess we'll see.

Til tomorrow, or whenever I get around to cleaning out my DVR queue.  Hey, at least this review was an actual horror movie, and not another superhero flick.  I'm already thinking about October's Horror-fest, and what movies I might like to review.  :-)

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