I love the conjuring series.
They are thrilling and scary yet with the string storyline to back it up, the series has given birth to a universe. The conjuring series is based on real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. They have filed a lot of intriguing cases but the one case that caught both critical and commercial attention is undoubtedly the doll, Annabelle. The first Annabelle film was very disappointing owing to the less impressive acting and the climax. Plus, as such the scary moments were not up to the point.
But with this sequel the filmmakers redeemed themselves. After losing their daughter, the Mullins decided to host an orphanage for girls under sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman). They arrive but two of them gets our attention, Janice (Talitha Bateman), a disabled girl affected with polio, and her friend Linda (Lulu Wilson). Janice is disappointed due to their illness and she feels lonely while the girls marginalize and isolate her. She is “invited” into Mullin’s late daughter’s (Samantha Lee) room by a paranormal occurrence where she finds the doll. Things go downhill from then.
Now, the film is definitely more engaging until the end when compared to the previous Annabelle. The biggest attraction is that the film is so nerve-racking that you might want to switch on your light. The girls are attacked even during daylight so the tradition is broken there. Thankfully the film doesn’t stick to the old school “distress” version of representing the female characters. That’s the one way in which horror films have progressed, women are their own hero. Here we have Charlotte playing the role of a protector. She fights with the help of her faith and presence of mind. Yet she knows what is the best for her students. And the friendship of Linda and Janice is another factor I loved about the movie. Sigman, Wilson, and Bateman delivered a good performance. Bateman has a bright future ahead of her. She played the vulnerable yet strong girls with ease. Her eyes express the grief as well as the horror. Then we see a whole new face of hers which makes the film watching experience different altogether. Wilson stood at par as well, in a way whenever she is attacked, we know that she will be able to stand up and the final scene where Charlotte saves her is shot well. David F Sandberg is the director and he delivered a simple yet classy film last year, “lights out”. The film is just as intriguing as that.
However, I do have an objection. Usually, films show a massive disrespect and stereotype people with mental health problems. In this film, we have a physically vulnerable girl being preyed on by the paranormal. She accentuates this in one of the scenes and Charlottes consoles her. But she is proved right as we witness what happens to her next. That a massive blow and a negative way to depict disabled people, showing that that is the reason why they are susceptible to evil spirits. This aspect is even explained in Annabelle where the spirits prey on “weak and vulnerable”. Can we just sit back and pretend that “weak and vulnerable” are not necessarily those with actual problems, physical or mental. If the film portrayed her as the strongest or the one with the will then it would have been a lot better apart from showing the dramatic recovery leading to the final twist.
The cinematography and editing made the film creepier and slow pacing helped us experience the film like we read a book. The way the storylines of Annabelle and Annabelle creation synchs is the best part and the final twist is well crafted. The scriptwriter deserves a glass of champagne for that.
Annabelle is worth your time. So, watch it with a friend.
Featured image: empire