If you need to see a good horror film involving a doll who looks like a female Charles Manson, I strongly suggest that you watch The Conjuring (2013) and not this prequel.

AnnabelleAfter buying my ticket, I approached the concession stand for a small bottled water. After paying for it, the young cashier said, “Enjoy your movie”. I said, “I’m going to see Annabelle, so I sincerely doubt that I will.” After he responded, “Then why go?”, I sarcastically said, “Because I am a movie reviewer impressed by my own overrated sense of self-worth.”

Having now seen Annabelle, I once again realize that no one knows me better than me. It falls short from beginning to end.

First of all, let’s just say that the hideous doll serving as the center of the film is not something you would give a child. On the other hand, it does little but look profoundly garish, and it falls far short of the terrifying clown doll in the epic horror film Poltergeist (1982).

You don’t need to hear much, so let me simply describe the plot as centering on a young pregnant couple awaiting their first child. The husband (Ward Horton) is a med student, and he and his wife, Mia, soon experience demonic chaos that would send most people directly into an insane asylum.

The husband is an idiot who gives his wife the doll in question, and he might as well have attached a gift card that said, “Welcome home, darling. Love, Satan.” The older couple next door are soon brutally killed by their estranged daughter who lives in a Manson-like cult, and it isn’t hard to predict who is next.

Whether our married couple lives in Santa Monica or Pasadena, their residence quickly becomes haunted. It soon becomes clear that the devil seeks an available soul, and the question centers on whether the newborn is a target.

The great Alfre Woodard makes a brief appearance as the owner of a bookstore who tries to help Mia, but she is treading in dangerous territory. She was the centerpiece of the movie’s climax, but I had all but lost interest by that point.

Besides the mediocre plot, the film suffers from the fact that it appeared that the women were whispering even if involved in nothing more than a casual conversation. I know that I’ve been forced to wear hearing aids following my accident in 2011, but I see enough movies to know when something is wrong with the soundtrack.

As I left the theater, I was laughing at the thought that the lead actress’ actual name is Annabelle Wallis. After she starred in a horror film of the same name, I’m sure that she found some comfort from the fact that the movie really wasn’t that good.