Annabelle dresses up its chills in frivolous uninspired jump scares. A welcomed spin-off to 'The Conjuring', considering its sub-plot involving the titular wretched doll certainly terrified many, if only it was handed to a more experienced director. Leonetti, who helmed such masterpieces like 'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation' and 'The Butterfly Effect 2', falls trap to the many pitfalls that plague low-budget horrors. Gone are the stylish suspense driven camera techniques that Wan confidently possessed, now replaced by lacklustre direction with two featureless leads and a second-rate script. No wonder Annabelle looks worse for wear, bless her! A husband grants his wife a collectible doll, which is soon possessed by a demonic presence summoned by devil worshippers who raid their home and attempt to attack them.
A few terrifying scares that prove to be somewhat effective, notably the storage floor sequence and the introductory home invasion scene, which illicit one or two satisfactory jump scares. A demon's face barging its way to the front of the camera did nearly force me to change my underwear. Yet despite the promising horror aspects, no matter how infrequent they were, the story with its repetitious slow pacing and mundane dialogue was enough to make anyone fall asleep cuddling the titular doll tightly dreaming the words "please just end it, end it now". Wallis was insufferably boring with her constant whining and screaming, succumbing to the outdated "distressed damsel" trope, that I can only assume she was hired just for her forename. Horton was just as bad, portraying the most useless husband possible. But it's fine, because he just kept smiling.
The plot itself lacked any mystery or suspense, mostly due to the way it was structured. It revealed all the details within the first act! Only to then conclude with an impeccably dumb soul trade thing that really made no sense, but by then I didn't care. The quality rapidly degraded as the runtime continued on, almost resembling a cheap dollhouse for Annabelle to reside in. To date, it is the worst "Conjuring Universe" film.