1. Annabelle (Warner Brothers/New Line, 3,185 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror): Okay, let’s talk about the doll. Granted, if a doll is going to be possessed by demons, it should look creepy. I get that.
But this doll just looks downright evil while it is sitting in the store. This is not a doll that you’d bring home to your pregnant wife for your unborn child. This is a doll you send to your worse enemy so it will haunt their dreams forever. At least Chuckie in Child’s Play looked adorable before the serial killer’s soul entered it. Heck, even if they went with a normal porcelain doll, that would have been better. Those are creepy in and of themselves! Purchasing a doll that practically screams “Buy me and you entire family will die!” makes me root for the cultists that will be doing the killing, because, really, you brought it on yourself.
This film, like The Conjuring, the film it was spun off from, is based loosely on a true story. Do you want to know what the kind of doll that was haunted in real life? A Raggedy Ann doll. An innocent, innocuous, non-threatening Raggedy Ann doll. Google it if you don’t believe me. Please do, because you’ll find a hilarious picture of the real doll in a glass display case festooned with warnings about not opening it.
2. Gone Girl (Fox, 3,014 Theaters, Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language):
A woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary. Her dutiful husband starts a search for her, asking help from the media and the police. However, what the police find leads them to believe she isn’t just missing–she’s dead. And all the evidence points to her husband as the killer.
The husband claims his innocence, as they always do. But if he didn’t kill her, who did? Or, is she really even dead at all.
I kind of pegged this film as the start of Oscar season. To say it was eagerly anticipated would be an understatement. The hype surrounding it was immense (Entertainment Weekly practically became an offshoot of the films publicity arm.) I guess we’ll have to see if the film is all that was advertised.
3. Left Behind (Freestyle Releasing, 1,820 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, violence/peril and brief drug content.): Ladies and gentlemen, we might have our first apocalyptic thriller that is also a sign of the apocalypse.
I mean, how other would you describe the unholy pairing of latest Bible-thumping film in regular film’s clothing, a genre where a good plot and solid story takes a back seat to delivering the religious message, and Nicolas Cage, an actor is capable of delivering a good performance, but would much rather to chew scenery and deliver inane ticks instead of good characterization.
This is the latest adaptation of the Left Behind book series (12 in all, so, expect plenty of sequels if this one does well), rebooting the Kirk Cameron version from 2000. It details the Rapture and how certain people deal with it. The Rapture certainly is popular these days. Consider this one a scrubbed down version of This Is the End or a more action packed The Leftovers.