(2014) (Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Horror: A married couple must contend with a possessed doll that's serving as a conduit for a demonic entity that's after a soul.
- It's the early 1970s, and Mia (ANNABELLE WALLIS) and John Gordon (WARD HORTON) live in Santa Monica where he's about to start his residency and she's expecting their first child. One night, there's a disturbance at the home of their next-door neighbors, Pete (BRIAN HOWE) and Sharon Higgins (KERRY O'MALLEY), involving their young adult daughter, Annabelle (TREE O'TOOLE), who's recently run away from home to join a cult. When she returns, it's with her fellow cult member boyfriend and they murder her parents, and then try to do the same to John and Mia when they intervene.
The boyfriend stabs Mia, but is then shot dead by the police, while Annabelle takes her own life, with some of her blood dripping down onto one of Mia's prized collector dolls. Mia and her unborn child survive, but enough spooky things start happening that she and John move their newly delivered baby to a large apartment in Pasadena. Yet, the seemingly supernatural events have followed them, as has the doll that John earlier threw out.
That results in Mia eventually confiding in her new neighbor, Evelyn (ALFRE WOODARD), who runs a nearby book store, while also seeking out more information about Annabelle from Det. Clarkin (ERIC LADIN). He informs her that she belonged to a satanic cult and was trying to summon some sort of demonic force, although he doesn't believe any of that.
A person who does is Father Perez (TONY AMENDOLA), the couple's priest who agrees to help and tries to intervene. But now knowing that the demon is after a soul, Mia is determined to do whatever it takes to protect her baby.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- They might if they're into horror films and especially "The Conjuring" to which this is a prequel.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror.
- CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
- ANNABELLE WALLIS plays a wife who's concerned about her baby, both when it's in her womb and after the child is born. And that's due to the discovery that a demonic force is terrorizing her and is after a soul. She's terrified by what occurs, especially as more is learned about what's occurring. She does what she can to protect herself and her baby. Early in the film, she must contend with a maniac trying to kill her, and she briefly has some wine.
- WARD HORTON plays her husband, a doctor in residency who initially doesn't believe her, but eventually comes around.
- ALFRE WOODARD plays their new neighbor, a woman who runs a bookstore and finds a kindred spirit in Mia. We learn that she tried to kill herself sometime in the past due to feeling responsible about the accidental death of her young adult daughter.
- TONY AMENDOLA plays Mia and John's priest who informs them of the danger at hand and tries to do what he can to protect them and their daughter.
- TREE O'TOOLE plays the young adult daughter of John and Mia's initial next-door neighbors. She's run away from home to join a cult and returns with her cult member boyfriend to kill her parents as part of a Satanic ritual. She ends up killing herself and then returns in ghost form to haunt and terrorize Mia.
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