I figured I’d kick off the Halloweenie: A Horror Movie Challenge with a brand new film, Annabelle. Before the previews even started, my nose decided to bleed profusely. I’m sitting alone in a theater covered in blood right before a horror movie is about to begin. Would you sit next to me? Perhaps this was my body’s way of telling me, “What the hell have you gotten yourself into Celina?!” I cleaned myself up, and proceeded to find out what I got myself into.
For those who’ve seen The Conjuring, the movie begins where we’re first introduced to this demon doll. Then we travel back to a supposedly simpler time, California during the 1960s, specifically that little window of time where everything was split between cookie cutter clean and hippie mania. I had a sigh of relief because at least this meant I had cute vintage clothes, hairstyles, and interior designs to distract myself from the creepiness that was about to ensue.
One thing I appreciated was that we learn exactly who Annabelle is in the beginning instead of sheepishly jumping around for 90 minutes to get a rushed answer. The doll is possessed by the ghost of Annabelle Higgins, a suburban runaway who joined a satanic cult with her boyfriend (who of course resembled Charles Manson). They were almost like Romeo and Juliet but heavier on the Blue Oyster Cult side.
The two go on a killing spree and attack our main characters, Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton). These two are the complete opposite of Annabelle and her cult beau. John is on the path to becoming a doctor and Mia is pregnant with their first daughter. They’re attractive, in love, and seemingly perfect — of course their lives are going to get turned upside down.
After the attack, Mia and John try to return to a normal life. But of course it’s easier said than done. Creepy escalates to deadly real quick, the couple finally flees to an even sweeter looking high-rise in order to protect themselves and their new baby girl. You can’t get rid of Annabelle and satanic demons that easily. (Gingerly placing a haunted conduit is not how you get things done, John.)
The threat of death and fear only rises. Mia is rightfully terrified, concerned for her daughter’s safety, and pretty much facing this on her own. Meanwhile, her husband is too caught up in his budding career to experience these horrifying events. Although Mia means well and her daughter’s safety is constantly on her mind, we just watch her become terrified and hopeless throughout. In the end, the selfless act of a stranger is what brings peace.
I thought team Jesus would step in to save the day, then much to my surprise, a priest got a possessed punch to the gut. I was hoping that the book store owner who was casually into the occult would step in with some not-evil witch power. But nope, apparently Annabelle is really a story about motherly love and why we should think twice about letting daughters date certain guys.
Despite my bloody beginning, I think I handled horror movie numero uno like a champ. No screaming, just a lot of sassy “oh no you didn’t” head shakes and “I’m too scared to look at this scene straight on” side eye. I just didn’t feel like I was in any danger. In fact, I kept getting distracted with thoughts like “I should look up a YouTube tutorial on that hair style, it’s so retro chic” or “I hope the Chipotle down the street is still open after this.” Do I still find demon dolls creepy? You betcha. Did I fear for my life afterwards? Not really.
Basically, the disappointing ending took away from any scary feelings I had. Afterwards, I got my well deserved Chipotle burrito and wish I had just skipped the movie and spent my money on more burritos. I was more concerned with how to get the blood stains removed from everything I own. That was still the scariest part of this entire experience.
However, I’ll wrap this up with a few observations and life lessons.
- 15 minutes in there was a stab fest with a full on Charles Manson lookalike. This is why you’re not allowed to wear white after labor day.
- Death by stove top pop corn. I would’ve been personally offended if a snack food ever tried to kill me.
- A creepy premonition as told by children’s drawings and childish death threat wall scribblings because nothing says “I want your baby’s soul” like a Crayola red crayon.
- Cameo appearances by Satan himself. This satan looked too stereotypical and therefore not that terrifying actually.
- Annabelle’s demon ghost makes an appearance and plays some pretty cruel tricks on Mia. This is why we don’t hit haunted inanimate objects, Satan might be feeling tricky and turn it back into your baby for a hot second to freak you out.
- Annabelle’s (the doll) transformation from slightly creepy looking doll to full on ratchet. Girl, check yourself before you wreck yourself and the lives of innocent ’60s suburbanites.
Haloweenie Hot Tips:
- Don’t collect dolls or anything that looks like a human. This is exactly why I collect harmless things, like nice leather handbags or lipsticks that are slight variations of the same color. Those things don’t become possessed and try to take your soul. Maybe they possess me to be a frivolous shopper, but I’ll deal with that personal demon another day.
- This is basically a cautionary story on why we need to not date crazy dudes. Note to future self: Make potential future daughter watch this when she begins dating. She’ll thank me later, or get pissed off, runaway with Charles Manson Jr., conjure up satan, and come back to murder me.
- Rethink that vintage purchase. Sure it’s cute, but maybe it was haunted by an angry demon with daddy issues and a rebellious ‘60s free spirit. I think I’m going to take a hiatus from vintage shopping for awhile.
What I would’ve done instead:
- Probably not return to the scene of the crime and casually live there. I’d also burn literally anything those satan worshippers touched or breathed on.
- Not let cool people sacrifice their souls for me. Let’s be honest, there just had to be a better way.
- Reason with Satan and Annabelle with a swinging ‘60s dance party. Who needs souls when you’ve got sweet dance moves?!
- Offer a Chipotle burrito instead of innocent souls. Or in this case, a boo-rrito. I’d pay extra for guacamole in that dire circumstance. Actually, I pay extra for guac in any circumstance.
Celina Bonifacio (@celinabonifacio) is a staff writer for The High Screen and a graduate from Buffalo State with a B.A. in public communications and writing. Pizza and not wearing sweatpants in public are just a few of the things she’s passionate about. Celina currently resides in Queens, N.Y. where you’ll probably find her sitting alone at a cafe sipping a caramel macchiato.