Annabelle

AnnabelleAnnabelle is a spin-off of the successful The Conjuring movies. But unlike its predecessors, its frights and scares came short. To be honest, I would say nary a real scare came out of this film. Many of the supposed scary scenes were just those jolts that you feel when you are surprised.

Annabelle is about a doll that was possessed by a female member of an occult who killed herself during a home invasion. The owners of the doll, John (a resident doctor) and Mia (who has just brought a baby daughter into the world) soon experience supernatural occurrences in their home. Even when they moved to an apartment in the city, the paranormal activities continued. They soon find out what’s causing these troubles. Heeding help from anybody they think who can help, would they be able to stop Annabelle? What are they willing to give just to protect their baby daughter?

The first part of the film is actually good. The back story is well told, and the characters are adequately developed. The scary scenes on this part could shock you a bit but you’d want to expect something more. I am a fan of horror films and I’ve seen a lot. This one I did not like. After that good first part, the story moved on without upping the suspense. I liked The Conjuring and its sequel but this supposed prequel and spin-off to those two movies is a fluke. A lot of people say that they got scared of this film and I really wonder how and why. I might have enjoyed more a repeat of the horror films that I liked watching before than watching Annabelle.

I like how the lead actors did their part (especially Annabelle Wallis as Mia) in the movie. However, no matter how they performed in Annabelle, they won’t be praised as a consequence of the film’s subpar quality. Their efforts are easily overshadowed by the fact that this movie is devoid of anything new, from the story itself up to the scare department. I can’t help but think that the decision to push thru with this spin-off is just all about the money.

If you were to watch a horror movie that’s still showing out there, avoid Annabelle at all costs. Just rent a tried and tested horror classic and watch it in the comforts of your home.

Annabelle‘s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 2 out of 5

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Gone Girl

Gone_Girl_PosterMind tricks. Mind games. Mysteries. This movie’s going to trap you in its maze. And this is my kind of movie.

An adaptation of the 2012 book of the same name, Gone Girl is about the disappearance of Amy Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike), a seemingly successful writer even as a child. Her husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a journalist who has lost his job, is the primary suspect after she went missing. What happened to Amy? What did Nick do? Did he kill her? These are the questions that film will make you ask during its first part. The media frenzy ensues; the police work does its dues; and the story about Nick and Amy’s convulated love, complicated relationship and difficult marriage start to unfold.

Rosamund Pike, an actress whom I have heard a lot of times before but never made a mark on me, is a big revelation here as the titular character. If she’s been constantly overlooked before, watch out for her after she gets nominated and given accolades for this film. Clearly, she’s a force to reckon with. She’s able to embody that missing girl… who’s got a lot of secrets.

Ben Affleck impresses as Nick Dunne, the husband of the missing girl. It is really a wonder why he acted differently when his character’s wife started to go missing… until you learn his character’s story and hers. You will not root for him because you will hate him. But you will try to understand where he’s coming from. And that will make you like him. And hate him again for trying to do not the good thing but the right thing in the end. And nothing seems to be more complicated than that. Nick’s interview in a local TV show highlights the best of Affleck’s abilities in the movie: he made himself admit his mistakes as bait for his missing wife. His admission exposed what his character really is but the circumstance behind the camera is telling otherwise. That ability to embody the complexity of his character is what makes Affleck so great here.

David Fincher is a master of suspense. I liked The Social Network because of the thrilling sensation behind its smartness. I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of its breath-taking scenes and very memorable characters. But I loved Gone Girl. Just like my favorite Fincher movie, Fight Club, this movie is exhilaratingly good and fashionably intelligent. The characters are going to take you deep into their story.  Gone Girl is going to make you feel. More importantly, it is going to make you think. It is going to make you grasp for reasons why certain situations happen, how people behave and why some relationships have to end. The maze I was talking about a while ago would trap you. But it will eventually lead you the way out with satisfying answers.

The editing done in Gone Girl is slick and smooth. I love how the transpositions of the scenes are done: having Nick’s perspective of the story alternate with that of Amy’s during the first part. When everything in the story is exposed, the perspectives shifted to the reality. And the way these two stories are woven together is impressively good. Towards the last part of the movie, the suspense is kept at a level wherein you won’t be exhausted that much, just enough for you to still be exhausted on what’s about to come up next.

Perfectly casted (from the leads down to the very small supporting roles), brilliantly directed and beautifully filmed with notches of great sound and musical score, this movie deserves a perfect rating.

Gone Girl’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 5 out of 5