Annabelle, film review: The Conjuring spin-off makes no sense whatsoever

Annabelle (15) John R Leonetti, 108 mins Starring: Annabelle Wallis,  Alfre Woodard, Eric Ladin

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The Independent Culture

Annabelle, a spin-off from The Conjuring, is the latest in a long line of films about diabolic dolls and dummies.

It is a well-crafted but mechanical affair that delivers plenty of shocks but whose plotting and characterisation are perfunctory in the extreme.

The film is set in late-1960s LA, the era of Rosemary’s Baby and the Charles Manson cult, to which several references are made. John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) Gordon are a young couple living in Santa Monica and expecting their first baby.

For reasons that are not at all clear, Mia collects old Victorian dolls and is delighted when her husband presents her with a new and grotesque-looking specimen, which she gives pride of place in the nursery. No sooner has the doll arrived than the neighbours are murdered. When the couple moves house, they throw the doll out – but it  mysteriously turns up in their new apartment and evil follows in its wake.

The set-pieces – Mia trapped in a lift, Mia home alone as the kitchen catches fire, Mia working at her noisy sewing machine as the needle inches ever closer to her hand – are effectively handled, with a few goose-bump moments along the way, but the story makes no sense whatsoever.