‘Annabelle’ returns in an American Horror Toy Story.

In my opinion, The Conjuring is by far the best horror film of the past two decades. A ghost story that definitely adhered to the formula, but had such a masterful grasp on classic horror filmmaking techniques combined with fantastic performances by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. Due to the massive financial success of that film, we now have this spin off prequel film centering on one of the film’s stand out scares, the decrepit, possessed Barbie doll from hell, Annabelle. We were treated to a fairly solid teaser for this film back in July, but now we really get a nice look at what we can expect in this second trailer.

I have been very pleasantly surprised by just how effective this film looks. Although I’m definitely deterred by the disappearance of director James Wan, John R. Leonetti, the cinematographer of The Conjuring, seems to have learned a great deal from Wan at the helm here. What particularly seems to have transferred over is the craftsmanship of the set pieces. The scare set ups in here are flat out awesome, and if you watch this trailer in the dark, it will undoubtably jolt you once or twice. In particular, there is a moment at the end that is brutally conveyed in one static shot, that will definitely have you fearing what may lie in the room across from yours for quite some time.

Unfortunately, I’m not terribly impressed with the characters, or story yet. Without the Warrens to come in and shake everything up, it seems like a fairly standard “Family Being Haunted by a Possessed Object” film. The two main characters seem really broadly drawn, and the ghost who comes along with the Annabelle doll seems pretty damn generic as well. Even so, this certainly looks like a somewhat worthy appetizer for the next Conjuring movie, which will hopefully retain the more character driven tone of the original.

Annabelle opens on October 3rd 2014.

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