Tohya Ebata vs Annabelle

This is a tribute to the second Annabelle film. Annabelle may be good at scaring a bunch of girls at the orphanage but in the end she had to go with a stealth plan instead of taking them on directly. Tohya is the kind of fighter who likes to battle straight up with no tricks and it’s why he is such a dangerous fighter. His abilities would leave Annabelle spinning, no way he loses here. Tohya Ebata wins.

Annabelle: Creation Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the movie. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Annabelle was so big that she got an origin story which is impressive since that doesn’t seem to happen very often unless you’re a really big character. I guess that fits the bill for her at this point though, she has earned that reputation. The film pretty much plays out as you would expect but in this case almost all of the characters are kids so there isn’t a whole lot that they can do against Annabelle. The film could have used a few more grown-ups to try and make the fights more interesting.

The movie starts with Samuel and Esther losing their kid Annabelle in a tragic hit by a car. Many years later they’ve decided to open up their home as a shelter for a bunch of kids who are homeless after the orphanage was removed. This group is led by Sister Charlotte and the place is quite large so they’re happy here. Samuel is rather withdrawn and his wife Esther never allows them to see or talk to her but…well it’s a place to live. The main problem is that strange things begin to happen here.

The main kid is Janice and she has a tough time walking due to illness so she has to use a cane everywhere. Naturally since you’re watching a horror film you know this puts her at a big disadvantage right out of the gate. She is told that the whole house is good to walk through except for one closed door. You are not to go in there under any circumstances but of course Janice does go in there and opens up the door which had been locking out the evil demon for a long time now. Annabelle is now on the loose and she wants to take over Janice’s body. Can this kid stop the demon or is it game over?

That’s the question which limits the film’s potential a bit when you think about it. Of course the kids can’t do anything against Annabelle. Even the adults are usually rather helpless against such a threat but with the kids it just feels a little too one sided. In general kids are rarely very interesting characters in film so I prefer when they take a back seat. Having them here 24/7 as the leads wasn’t the best idea if you ask me.

Most of the kids are also just annoying. You have the classic bullies who are mean to Janice because she can’t walk properly like they can. Janice only has one true friend in Linda but the others are as petty as possible and you can expect that they won’t be doing very well against Annabelle either. I at least liked Linda who had Janice’s back from the start. Her best moment is definitely when she decided to take charge and ran outside with the doll in order to throw it into the pit of no return. It was a brave thing for a kid to do and took a lot of guts considering the powers it had. Things almost got dicey for Linda since she sure was taking her time closing the lid but that was a good moment.

As for Sister Charlotte, she did well in what was a pretty lousy situation all around. There’s only so much she could do with the orphanage being destroyed and I’m sure it was a lot of work to find a suitable house that would work for everyone. The owners may not have been the best people around but at least they did have a place for the group. Charlotte also did her best to keep the kids in line, they just didn’t make it easy on her.

Samuel has to be one of the worst characters here and of course the same is true of Esther. They absolutely knew about the demon and yet they decided to open this place as a shelter? I don’t care if it was purified several times, the demon was still around which is why the door was closed. Allowing the kids into the building was negligent. If you absolutely wanted to atone and do good by the world, at least find a way to get the priests to completely destroy the building or the demon within the doll. Sealing it away isn’t actually removing the problem.

Then Samuel is also completely oblivious to what’s going on. I feel like it’s intentional but when Janice and the others start talking about weird things happening, he doesn’t seem to care. “Samuel, your wife visited us in the middle of the night!” “Gee, I don’t think so, she’s still in her room….” Samuel knows well and good that she was in the room which means that it was the demon or some kind of supernatural thing going on. By the time he’s actually ready to help it’s way too late. I also thought he was rather cold to the kids for no reason. If he’s still torn up about the past then perhaps inviting the orphanage was not a good idea.

Likewise, Esther is just hiding out in her room the whole time. You have to at least meet the kids, this just makes the experience a little creepy for them. The doll mask seemed to cover her face rather well so just use that and meet up with everyone. Otherwise she really isn’t doing anything to help the cause and is just holding the experience back. That said, I still wasn’t expecting her end to be quite so violent, Annabelle was not holding back here.

In general I wouldn’t say the film is super violent though. Moments of Annabelle shredding everyone is typically rare and the film has a ton of build up. Things don’t really start happening until it’s nearly time to end. We do get one barfing moment from the villain which is always a rather crude way to take possession. I prefer going with the smoke method personally or something like that.

We do get to connect this to the first ending in a way similar to Rogue One so that was interesting. Of course you feel bad for the new characters even if you do know what is going to ultimately happen to them. It’s the kind of twist ending you’re expecting though and even if you haven’t seen the first film it would work in that sense. I did like that we got to see more of Annabelle’s true demon form here though. It certainly looks intense and could probably hold its own movie in that form as well. Now that’s a figure that you wouldn’t want to have to fight.

The special effects in the film are pretty solid. There’s a lot going on and it’s always visually interesting. More so than the movie at times but that’s how it goes. It’s definitely one of those futile movies where the characters never have any shot at directly stopping the villain and just have to try and survive. I think the movie would be more interesting if the characters could be aged up so they could at least try thinking of plans. That’s a staple of the big horror movies even if the plans usually don’t work out. You at least want to see the characters trying some options but that doesn’t really happen here.

Overall, I thought this was a little better than the average horror film and the kids could have been worse. Linda gets a lot of props for actually trying to help out and take Annabelle down. Janice gets considerably less points here because it felt like she kept on adding to the trouble by going where she wasn’t supposed to and all that. You do feel bad for her since she can’t just run and escape the way most main characters could though. The film’s a slow burn but with kids as the focus it’s not as engaging as it could have been. I’d say this is a safe skip.

Overall 4/10

Annabelle Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

The Conjuring verse has definitely gotten pretty big at this point. With the main titles plus two different spinoff series I dare say that it’s easily the biggest horror universe in cinema. It may not have as many installments as some others but I’d like to see any other one have two spinoffs. Then maybe we could have a time travel story at some point that brings them all together at once at their peak and maybe even bring some of the human characters from all of the films along. This one’s pretty solid for a horror film. I wouldn’t say that it’s without fault but I wouldn’t call it a bad movie either.

The movie starts with Mia and John getting ready to finally have a kid. John has the bright idea to give Mia a doll that looks like it was run over several times as a gift. She likes it so I guess maybe this is just the style she’s into but I dunno, I get bad vibes from it right away. That night they are attacked by a bunch of lunatics and Mia ends up getting stabbed. Fortunately they all live including the baby. Now the three of them should be okay but Mia keeps seeing ghosts like the evil lady showing up or Annabelle herself giving her the evil eye. Is Mia going crazy or does the doll actually want to take her down?

The first scene with the home invaders caught me off guard because I was so sure that they were apparitions and weren’t really there. I mean that’s just horror 101 that the heroine thinks she sees something but it’s all fake right? The fact that they were actually here was pretty interesting. It also made for an intense fight scene as John had to try and take both of them down on his own. He handled himself pretty well until the cops were able to show up and fortunately put an end to things. It definitely helped to establish the world as being a pretty dangerous one and also showed us why Mia would be on edge for the rest of the film. She just can’t feel safe anywhere.

It doesn’t help that Annabelle is causing a lot of mischief. She turns the toaster on by itself, loves to turn on music over and over again, and doing other things like that. She rarely ever moves to do anything on her own though. She likes to scare Mia but never presses the issue more than that. In fact when going on the offensive she seems to prefer to summon a ghost of an older lady or even uses a kid form to take names. Seeing her try to fight as a doll would have been a little more entertaining but I guess she didn’t want to chance it. Like the Nun she is technically a demon inhabiting the doll or using it as a medium but I guess she has freedom to do other things as well.

She’s at least strong enough to mess with Perez even when he’s literally in front of the Church and has his full gear on. He definitely should not have looked back though. Why even look back when you could do a Football dive into the Church and be safe? That’s definitely what he should have done if you ask me and then he would have been in good shape. At least he wanted to help the heroes though so I’ll give him props for the attempt. He was definitely a nice guy. Then you have Evelyn who also did her best to help the main characters out. She may have been a little out of her league with these supernatural forces but who isn’t right? At least this way Mia had some support.

John made for a good supporting character here. He was supportive of Mia the whole time and really did everything he could to help her out in the end. Taking the night shift was a bit dicey but I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have done to stay home. If anything losing his job would probably make things worse for both of them. In the end he also helps prevent her from making the ultimate mistake which would have been really unfortunate. Mia does her best to stay sane the whole time and escape Annabelle’s attacks but they do start to get her on the edge. The most intense trial she probably had to go through here was heading to the basement. The elevator definitely was not in her favor but it makes sense. If anything I feel like it should happen more often in horror films. I don’t know about the elevators they use here but if you’re being chased by someone and jump into an elevator the odds of it shutting instantly are slim to none. At my elevator at least if you click to go up or down it’ll open up the elevator right away before you can move to a new floor. It always has top priority.

Mia does her best to look into the whole Annabelle situation but ultimately it’s one of those things where there isn’t a whole lot to dig up. There isn’t a way out and she’s basically unbeatable. When you think about it that’s the moral of the story. I can’t say that the ending was particularly satisfying either. We don’t really get a twist ending so instead Annabelle gets a lot of props in the normal one. My real issue here is that one of the characters basically plays Annabelle’s game thinking that this will balance the scales but it has no real effect. Perhaps at most it slows Annabelle down but based on the grin at the end and everything it’s definitely not something that will be a permanent win. Thing is, you can’t trust demons so why even play their games in the first place? Annabelle certainly isn’t one of the stronger demons but she is still a demon nonetheless.

Overall, Annabelle is definitely more of an atmospheric kind of horror title. The demon isn’t going around murdering everyone for the most part. Usually she just causes a lot of dangerous pranks and tries to mess with Mia’s psyche. I’m glad that the film actually incorporated this into the plot though. There are a few deaths but really not all that much when you think about it and close to half the body count here was unrelated to Annabelle herself. I didn’t care for the ending which was a bit sour but I wouldn’t say this film was bad. It didn’t rely on much or any shock value which was pretty nice. We didn’t have to hear some super long and tragic origin story either. Annabelle is just a crazy demon that wants your soul and doesn’t need much more of a background than that. The crazy murderers from the origin got a bit of an origin story which I thought was pretty pointless but I suppose it tied into Annabelle’s origin so we needed it to an extent. I wouldn’t call this film super strong but it’s a decent horror film if you want to check out out. I would sooner recommend Ghostbusters though.

Overall 5/10