REVIEW: ANNABELLE: CREATION

CAST

Stephanie Sigman (Spectre)
Talitha Bateman (The 5Th Wave)
Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil)
Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace)
Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings)
Brad Greenquist (Pet Sematary)
Grace Fulton (Shazam)
Philippa Coulthard (Howards End)
Adam Bartley (Longmire)
Lotta Losten (Lights Out)
Mark Bramhall (Star Trek)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Bonnie Aarons (The Fighter)

In 1943, dollmaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) grieve for the loss of their seven-year-old daughter Annabelle, “Bee” (Samara Lee), who was killed in a car accident. Twelve years later, in 1955, the Mullins open their home to provide shelter for Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and six girls left homeless by the closing of their orphanage. Despite having been told not to enter Bee’s locked bedroom, Janice (Talitha Bateman), a young orphan crippled by polio, is awakened by a noise, discovers a note saying “find me”, and sneaks into the room, which has mysteriously become unlocked. She finds a key for Bee’s closet and unlocks it, where she sees an eerie porcelain doll. This unwittingly releases a powerful demon, who begins to terrorize the girls, displaying a special interest in Janice.On the second night, the demon continues to torment Janice, revealing its true form and declaring that it wants “her soul”. Although she attempts to get away using a stairlift, she is left severely injured when caught by the demon and thrown from the second floor landing to the first floor. The next day, Janice—now confined to a wheelchair—is dragged into a shed. The demon, taking Bee’s form, successfully possesses her. One of the other orphans, Janice’s best friend Linda (Lulu Wilson), notices changes in her behavior and admits to Samuel that Janice had snuck into Bee’s room and found the doll two nights earlier. Shortly after Linda’s revelation, the possessed Janice, who can now walk, transforms into the demon and brutally kills Samuel.Sister Charlotte speaks with the disfigured Esther, who is confined to her bedroom. Esther explains that after Bee’s death, they prayed to whatever entity would grant their wish to see their daughter again. An unknown entity answered their prayer and though they briefly see Bee’s spirit again, the entity convinces them to transfer its essence into one of Samuel’s crafted porcelain dolls. They happily agree but soon realise that they have attracted a demon looking for a human host. One night, Esther sees Bee’s spirit, along with the porcelain doll, transforming into the demon, who gouges out her left eye. They take the doll to Bee’s room and lock it in a closet wallpapered with pages from the Bible before enlisting the help of priests to bless both the room and the house. Esther then reveals that she and Samuel opened their house as a shelter for the orphans to repent of their dealings but now regrets it, since she realises that this has provided an opportunity for the demon to look for a human host.The demon crucifies Esther and bisects her body and slams Sister Charlotte on the wall, prompting the other orphans to leave the house. Linda is trapped in the house and hides in Bee’s room as the possessed Janice tries to stab her. Sister Charlotte recovers and locks the possessed Janice and the doll inside the closet. The next day, police arrive to search the house and its surroundings and find only the doll inside the bedroom closet, which they remove as evidence. Janice has escaped through a hole in the closet wall and relocates to an orphanage in Santa Monica. Still possessed, she becomes reclusive and calls herself Annabelle. The Higgins family soon adopt Annabelle. Twelve years later, in 1967, a teenage Annabelle (Tree O’Toole) joins a Satanic cult and, along with her boyfriend, murders her adoptive parents in their bedroom, which catches the attention of their next door neighbors, the Forms.In a post-credits scene, set in Romania in 1952, Valak, the Demon Nun (Bonnie Aarons), walks towards the camera in the candle-lit halls of the Cârța Monastery, as each candle slowly goes out, teasing the events of The Nun.Annabelle Creation is one of the better horror movies of the summer and perhaps this year. It is dark, creepy, and moves at that pace needed to keep you invested in the movie for the two-hour run time. In addition, the filling in gaps and hints start to connect the world, which will have you die hard horror fans screaming in delight at both scares and plot.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE CONJURING 2

CAST
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Madison Wolfe (The Campaign)
Frances O’ Connor (Bedazzled)
Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity)
Simon McBurney (The Last King of Scotland)
Maria Doyle Kennedy (Sing Street)
Robin Atkins Downes (Suicide Squad)
Bonnie Aarons (The Princess Diaries)
In 1976, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren document the Amityville murders at the Amityville house, to determine if a demonic presence was truly responsible for Ronald DeFeo Jr. mass murdering his family on November 13, 1974 and the subsequent haunting incident involving the Lutz family. During a seance, Lorraine is drawn into a vision where she relives the murders and discovers a demonic nun figure, before seeing Ed being fatally impaled. After a struggle, Lorraine is able to break out of the vision.
One year later, in 1977, the Hodgson family begins to discover strange occurrences within their home in London. Janet, the second oldest of four children, is seen sleepwalking and conversing in her dreams with an entity who insists that the house is his. Eventually, all siblings of the house and their mother Peggy witness paranormal events occurring right before their eyes, forcing them to seek refuge with their neighbors. When the media attempts to interview the Hodgsons, Janet is possessed by the spirit of Bill Wilkins, an older man who previously lived and died in the house, and who wants to claim his territory. As Janet begins to show more signs of demonic possession, the story eventually reaches the Warrens, who are requested to assist the local church in the investigation. Lorraine, in fear of her vision of Ed’s death becoming reality, warns him not to get too involved in the case, and reluctantly agrees to travel to London. She has yet another vision of the demonic nun in the collection room wherein the demon says its name, which Lorraine scribbles in her Bible.
While staying at the Hodgson residence, Ed and Lorraine consult with other paranormal investigators, including Maurice Grosse and Anita Gregory, on the legitimacy of the case. They also attempt to communicate with Wilkins’ spirit, hoping to talk him out of harassing the family. One night, after the Hodgsons witness Janet being possessed, Gregory presents video evidence of Janet purposely wrecking the kitchen as if for a prank. Ed and Lorraine are then convinced to leave the family on their own, but soon they discover that the spirit of Wilkins is only a pawn, being manipulated to haunt Janet, while the true mastermind is the demonic spirit that has been haunting Lorraine in her visions.
Ed and Lorraine return to the Hodgson residence, only to find Janet being possessed once more and the rest of the Hodgsons locked outside the house. A lightning strike hits a tree near the house, leaving a jagged stump resembling the object that impaled Ed in Lorraine’s vision. Ed ventures inside the house alone, and finds Janet standing near the window, ready to leap onto the stump and commit suicide. He manages to grab Janet in time, but finds himself holding onto a curtain that is being torn from its rings by his and Janet’s weight. Lorraine remembers that she wrote the demon’s name – Valak – in her Bible. She enters the house and confronts Valak, addressing it by name and successfully condemning it back to Hell. Janet is freed of her possession, and Lorraine pulls her and Ed to safety.
A text epilogue reveals that Peggy lived the rest of her life in that house and died in 2003, sitting in the same spot in which Wilkins had died 40 years earlier. Upon returning home, Ed adds an item to his and Lorraine’s collection – “The Crooked Man” zoetrope toy owned by Peggy’s youngest child – placing it near April’s music box and the Annabelle doll. The couple then dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.
The Conjuring 2 is as strong as the first. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first, or indeed likes haunting films.

REVIEW: THE CONJURING

 

CAST

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Lili Taylor (American Crime)
Ron Livingston (Swingers)
Shanley Caswell (Detention)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)

In 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. During the first day, their move goes smoothly, though their dog Sadie refuses to enter the house and one of the daughters finds a boarded up entrance to a cellar.
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A few paranormal events happen within the first few nights, including all of the clocks stopping at exactly 3:07 AM and Sadie being found dead in the back yard. One night, while they are both in bed, Christine feels a tugging on her leg, which she first expects to be Nancy, but is a spirit only she can see. She begins to scream and tells her family that the spirit wants the family dead. Carolyn is folding laundry in the night when she hears clapping in the hallway. When she goes to investigate, all the picture frames along the wall fall and shatter on the floor. She goes downstairs following laughter and finds the basement door opening slowly. When she goes inside to investigate, she’s trapped there by the spirit who claps beside her as her matchstick flickers out. At the same moment, Andrea and Cindy are attacked by a spirit on top of the wardrobe.

Carolyn decides to contact noted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who agree to take on the case. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house may require an exorcism, but they need authorization from the Catholic Church and further evidence before they can proceed. While researching the history of the house, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba (a relative of Mary Towne Eastey), who sacrificed her week-old child to the devil and killed herself in 1863 after cursing all who would take her land. The property was once more than 200 acres but has since been divided up into smaller parcels. They find reports of numerous murders and suicides in houses that have since been built upon parcels that were once part of the property.

Ed and Lorraine return to the house to gather evidence to receive authorization for the exorcism, placing cameras and bells around the house. A bell goes off near Cindy after they finish setting up. They catch a glimpse of Cindy sleep walking into Andrea’s room, and from the EVPs coming from the radio, they hear a spirit luring Cindy into the wardrobe, where she reveals a secret passage inside. Lorraine enters the passage and falls through the floorboards into the cellar, where she sees the spirit of a woman whom Bathsheba had long ago possessed and used to kill her child. Another of the Perron children, Nancy, is violently dragged by her hair along the floor by an unseen force.
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The Perron family decides to take refuge at a hotel while Ed and Lorraine take their evidence to the Church to arrange an exorcism. While the Warrens are on their way home, their daughter Judy is attacked in their own home by the spirit of Bathsheba, along with the haunted Annabelle doll from the Warrens’ previous case, though Ed arrives in time to prevent her from being harmed. Carolyn, now possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba, takes two of her daughters, Christine and April, and drives back to the house. Ed, Lorraine, Roger, their two assistants, and a police officer rush to the house where they find Carolyn in the cellar trying to stab Christine with scissors. After subduing Carolyn and tying her to a chair, Ed decides to perform the exorcism himself. Though Carolyn escapes and attempts to kill April, who is hiding under the floorboards, Lorraine is able to temporarily distract the possessed Carolyn from killing her daughter by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism, saving Carolyn and April and lifting Bathsheba’s curse forever.
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Returning home, Lorraine tells Ed that the priest whom they sought for the exorcism had called back and left a message, saying that he had gained approval from the Catholic Church to perform it. In addition to this, he also has another case for them to investigate on Long Island. When they leave, the music box that April had found opens and plays music as the camera lingers on it. Once it stops, the screen cuts to black.

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Based  on a haunting investigated by real-life paranormal investigators Ed & Lorraine Warren whose body of work also inspired the Amityville Horror. The Conjuring” is an exceptional piece of film that pulls all the right stops to frighten the audience, leaving a lasting impression on your mind as well the recently tired genre of horror.

 

REVIEW: ANNABELLE

CAST

Annabelle Wallis (X-Men: First Class)
Ward Horton (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Alfre Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)
Kerry O’Malley (The Happening)
Brian Howe (Deja Vu)
Eric Ladin (The Killing)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)

The film starts with the same opening scene from The Conjuring, in which two young women and a young man are telling Ed and Lorraine Warren about their experiences with a doll called Annabelle which they believe is haunted. In 1969, John and Mia Form live in Santa Monica and are expecting their first child. John gives her a doll that she has been trying to find. At night, Mia hears a murder occurring at their neighbors’, the Higgins. When Mia calls the police, she is attacked by a woman holding the doll and a male accomplice. John and the police arrive and kill the man while the woman kills herself by slitting her own throat. A drop of her blood falls on the face of the doll in her arms. A news report shows that the assailants were Annabelle Higgins and her boyfriend. They are said to have been part of the Disciples of the Ram, a satanic cult, in which they worship a demon with horns.
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Since Annabelle was holding the doll while dying, Mia asks John to throw it away. Later, after a fire caused by the doll, Mia trips over furniture escaping from the fire and goes into labor. Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Leah. The family moves into a new apartment and Mia finds the doll they thought they had discarded. More strange activity plagues Mia and her new baby. She contacts the detective, who informs her of Annabelle’s history in a cult that seeks to summon a demon by claiming a soul. Mia goes to a bookstore run by a woman named Evelyn and determines that the presence haunting her wants Leah’s soul. Evelyn tells Mia that she had a daughter named Ruby who died in a car accident caused by Evelyn. She was so guilt-ridden that she attempted suicide. However, she claims to have heard Ruby’s voice telling her it wasn’t her time.
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The couple contacts their church’s priest, Father Perez, who tries to take the doll with him to church. Annabelle’s ghost attacks him, and the doll disappears. Perez warns John that it was Annabelle’s spirit that caused his injuries. During another attack, Annabelle appears to levitate, but Mia sees the demon holding Annabelle, manipulating its actions. Mia attempts to kill Annabelle and asks him if there is another way, and it says that she can offer him her soul. John and Evelyn break open the door to find Mia ready to jump out the window with Annabelle. John saves Mia; Evelyn takes hold of Annabelle and decides to make the sacrifice, knowing this is the way she can atone for Ruby’s death. Evelyn then jumps out of the window to her death. However, the Annabelle doll disappears. Six months later, the Forms have moved on and have not seen Annabelle since then. Elsewhere, the mother of one of the girls in the opening scene purchases Annabelle as a gift for her child. The ending text states that the real Annabelle doll resides in a case in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s museum and that it is blessed by a priest twice a month to keep the public safe from the evil that the doll possesses.

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A good movie. The start goes back to the start of the movie The Conjuring and is set a few years before. It is supposedly based on true events, though the Anabelle doll in the movie is much creepier than the real life one was. It is a good storyline and there are a few scary moments. If you liked the Conjuring you may like this movie.