Movie Review: Annabelle Comes Home

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When is a horror movie not like a horror movie? When it fails to scare, that’s when. While the closing credits are scrolling on the screen, the only question that comes to mind is “Why the heck did Annabelle come home if she wasn’t going to cause out and out mayhem and carnage?”

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Picking up where Ed and Lorraine Warren meet the nursing students and bring Annabelle into their homes, this movie borders on the (not so) funny-ha ha and cheap theatrics and very little on the actual spook factor.

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Always referred to as a conduit through which an evil spirit tries to get its hands on a soul, Annabelle does precious little to actually acquire a soul when given the chance. Instead she unleashes a room full of malevolent spirits (literally roomful) and each one comes in, says ‘Boo’ and goes away just as easily. I have never seen a movie where the supernatural bad guy is subdued this easily. Jason had to be killed over 10 sequels, Freddy over at least 5 and even the shark from Jaws was more tenacious. This movie was truly a bah! humbug kind of a situation for those of us who like to be spooked and feel the cold, crawly fingers of fear inching around us while we sit in a darkened theater and watch the hapless preyed upon.

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Onto the players- Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are so comfortable in the role that they are cast in that they don’t seem to have to try at all to become the Warrens. But in all honesty, their time on the screen was fairly limited as well so…

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Judy, played by McKenna Grace is the surprise package. She’s sweet, vulnerable and rather believable as the child who can sense spirits and is also terrified of them. She sort of has a Haley Joel Osment-vibe going for her. One hopes she gets better movies rather than that of the Mean Girls ilk as she matures as an actress. Madison Iseman as Mary Ellen fulfills her part well enough but the introduction of Bob the teenage boy and the Hellhound chase he takes part just make for a discordant comic element which was unwittingly brought in; or was it?

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The demons that are unleashed either suffer from very little focus given to their individual characters or in the way they’re made up to look because they don’t look scary enough! The demon trying to suck out Judy soul, the dead priest who guides them to Annabelle or even the Ferryman and his passengers who all appear with coins over their eyes, artfully placed to make them look creepier; are all just sad props in a movie where the main character just didn’t do enough.

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Annabelle Comes Home doesn’t come up to scratch. The first two movies in the series were much better. One can avoid this. Even on home media. Better yet, give Ol’ Chucky another go. He was something…

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Rating: *

Freaky Friday Conversation

My son and I have no-holds barred conversations. These conversations often leave me with a gormless look on my face and at other times it’s a toss-up between laughter, crying and looking for a place to bang my head against.

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Ever since TO and a bunch of little friends sneaked a peek at some horror movies on Amazon Prime and then went and got spooked about anything that went bump in the night, I’ve reinforced the embargo on scary movies till he’s 30. My hope is that he outgrows the wish to watch them way before that deadline passes but keeping it banned till the big 3-0 makes it sufficiently important in his head. If anything’s banned for that long then the repercussions surrounding it are going to be rather elaborate and possibly ouchie-inducing too.

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I’m not too worried about him sneaking a peek again. In fact let him see Pennywise biting off a kid’s hand or pulling him into a sewer. Or Bathsheba possessing Carolyn Perron or worst of all, let him take a gander at the head turning scene in The Exorcist. Some lessons are learnt the hard way. Let’s see which way the little man’s headed..’cuse the pun!

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But getting back to the freaky conversations we’re prone to having…TO keeps asking me how the doll in Annabelle comes alive. And explaining demonic possession to an almost 10-year old isn’t something I thought I’d have to tackle. I mean the facts of life..yeah sure. But how a doll is a host of a demon or that people use the occult to channel evil spirits and what is exorcism; all this wasn’t in any of the parenting manuals my husband shoved my face into unfortunately.

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So after trying to explain the occult to him and failing, I tried to keep up with the rapid fire questions while evading the virtual helicopter shots coming off his cricket bat. I told him I didn’t know how Annabelle got out of the well or why they didn’t show Annabelle as walking and running or killing people or if he’d suddenly find Annabelle if he opened his closet door while he was home alone one day. But I told him not to worry about Annabelle at all…because I…his all-knowing mother was always watching and would ALWAYS know what he was up to. Always. Mwaaaahaaaa

Oh No You Did Not!!

Red and I impose parental controls on TO’s digital media views and mainly their content.

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It’s not so much to keep him away from profanity (he gets a dose of that when I drive) but also to keep him away from concepts that he may not be able to understand and end up getting freaked out about stuff in the process.

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A while back he and 2 of his cute little friends let it slip how they’d sneaked a peek at The Conjuring while playing unsupervised at another friend’s house. I was able to correlate that with a period of being kicked out of my own bed because someone was afraid to sleep alone in their own room. Or even when they did sleep alone, they wrapped themselves up like a mummy and gave me sleepless nights about suffocation and what not!Image result for kids watching horror movies

This morning I was telling Red over coffee that I had weird dreams last night from seeing clips from The Shining and being partly sleep-deprived and suddenly pipes up a voice from behind me, “Oh yeah, that boy with his cycle and those 2 girls who meet him in the hallway and that old guy who gives him icecream and tells him not to go in a room…that movie, right, with all the blood?”

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After internally WTFing with myself liberally I turned around to ask him how he knew about the movie which he did not have the clearance to watch. He told me very casually that he’d watched it at another friend’s house but only a little bit and he wasn’t scared of it at all!

A part of me is happy that he’s choosing good stuff to watch and not getting messed up in his head by watching things like Evil Dead or the Saw movies, but almost 10 may not be the best age to watch someone’s spiral into insanity and attacking their family with an axe. Just saying.

And while my mother let me watch horror movies when I was his age, I can honestly say I was in it for the blood and gore and she was ok with it because she knew it was a phase and I’d outgrow it. She steadily kept her hand over my eyes during the scenes with nudity though. Come to think of it, most Hollywood undead serial killers are such perverts! They wait till a person is “otherwise occupied” and choose that time to cut their heart out. But those days of cozying up with my mom on the couch, hogging on Hershey’s chocolate pudding cups and watching Jason slash through teenage bodies with his chainsaw…oh the nostalgia. Am almost choked up.

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But if this kid thinks he’s going to watch gore before he’s 35 he’s got another thing coming!

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P.S: This blog post and the others like it have been brought to you courtesy of a Macbook Pro that I was given so very thoughtfully for my birthday this year and about which I have not waxed on eloquently enough.

Disclaimer: This is not an Apple sponsored advertisement. More like Red-sponsored.

 

 

Movie Review: The Others

I love movies on the paranormal. Slasher, subtle…you name it and I’ll watch it at least once! And subtlety is the name of the game in The Others.

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Nicole Kidman isn’t an actor I’ve actually enjoyed watching on the screen. She seems kind of off to me for lack of anything very concrete to say but she proves her chops in this movie as a mother who is coming unhinged. The neurosis, the bewilderment flows off her and makes it pretty real for the viewers.

But the real gems in the movie are the characters of Nicholas, Anne and Mrs.Mills played by James Bentley, Alakina Mann and Fionnula Flanagan. They play the children and the nanny and they are total naturals in being who they are supposed to be. That and the landscape aid the ambiance perfectly in giving it a Gothic feel.

Horror, terror, chills, fear…whatever you call it doesn’t always have to scare you out of your seat or even make you jump. It can also make you curious to see what happens next, where the movie is going and what’s finally going to be revealed as the truth.

This movie does it all. I was quite a few years late in seeing it but I finally saw it on a dark and windy night with the rain falling against the window panes, at midnight so it’s been watched in an appropriate setting one might say.

However, if you like your horror palpable and do like your heart to skip a beat, this movie will seem a bit tame for you. It’s all about being subtle.

Skillfully done by director Alejandra Amenabar.

Worth one watch.