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Annabelle 2014 ***

John R Leonetti’s prequel to James Wan’s The Conjuring has a tricky remit to fulfil; it’s the backstory for Annabelle, the possessed doll. With a late sixties setting, Annabelle the movie initially picks up on a Charles Manson serial killer whose spirit escapes from his body at the moment of death and survives in the doll. It’s hard to believe that Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) would feel like hanging on to the creepy-looking toy, but their slow realisation of it’s power makes up the body of the film. The shocks are fairly rote, but Annabelle builds to one excellent extended set piece involving a lift and a darkened basement that captures the tone of a real nightmare. If the rest of the film was so carefully constructed, Annabelle would be a horror classic; it’s worth seeing for that ten minute sequence alone.




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