Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Annabelle Movie Poster Image
Bloody "Conjuring" prequel is scary, if not too original.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 95 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Basically the movie is about misfortune; bad things randomly happen to good people. But the good people do get certain chances to help out in big ways.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although there are lots of decent characters -- loving couples, helpful neighbors, hard workers -- who are all generally polite and caring, they don't have many chances to prove themselves, and their goodness doesn't heavily apply to the plot. It's more or less a demonstration of good manners/behavior.


Only a few dead bodies, but lots of blood, including frequent pools and splatters. A pregnant woman and a child are in jeopardy. During a break-in, a pregnant woman is stabbed, and a man fights, bashes, and pummels the intruders against the walls. The cops shoot the intruders. Bloody crime scene photos. A woman cuts her finger on a sewing machine. A kitchen catches on fire. A man is thrown across the pavement by a ghostly force. The movie has an overall sense of terror with some scary, blood-curdling moments, some of which involve a baby.


Characters include a loving married couple who are expecting a baby. Though they're affectionate, they're rarely physical toward each other.


A late 1960s "Jiffy Pop" popcorn popper is shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Annabelle is a prequel to the horror movie The Conjuring, about a possessed doll. There's lots of bloody horror, splattering blood, and scary images, plus some jump-shock moments, shooting, fighting, and dead bodies. A pregnant woman and, later, a small child are in jeopardy. It's all pretty terrifying. But on the upside, other than the scary/gory stuff, there's not too much other iffy content of note -- no sex, strong language, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Though the central couple is married and affectionate, they're very rarely physical onscreen (not much beyond a hug or a kiss). And since the movie is set in the 1960s, not many brand names are shown. Horror fans will probably want to see this, but it's not likely to be as big as The Conjuring was.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byEpicOcelot June 21, 2015


I showed this to my 16 year old knowing she likes to be frightened. I watched it with her all the way through, and to be honest I thought it was pretty good but... Continue reading
Adult Written bydahyunlover_19 August 12, 2018


Is not that scary just a little blood
Teen, 13 years old Written byJustinAE09 June 14, 2015

not scary and super lame

This movie although getting 4 dots in violence was not a violent movie. Definantly not a scary movie for a teen or adult but for anyone under 10 might be freake... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJenniferamkarlsson January 25, 2015


this movie really confuses me, there are literally no wounds, just blood splattered at random places, but the story is amazing. I'd recommend not watching... Continue reading

What's the story?

ANNABELLE's story takes place before the events of The Conjuring, following the titular evil doll. In the late 1960s, young couple Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) are expecting their first baby. As a gift, John gives Mia a creepy doll for her collection. With images of the Manson Family murders showing on the television, two murderous creeps break into Mia and John's home; while John fights them off, Mia is stabbed, and Annabelle is caught in the fray. Soon terrifying things begin to happen. The baby is born, and the couple moves to a new apartment, but the disturbances continue, and the ghosts and spooky disturbances give way to images of a demon. With the help of a bookseller (Alfre Woodard), Mia learns that the doll won't stop until it possesses a human soul.

Is it any good?

This movie is probably fairly forgettable, though horror fans will get a quick kick out of it. The Conjuring was an excellent horror film that introduced two real-life ghostbusters, the Warrens, who seemed poised to be the subjects of many good sequels. But instead/in the meantime, this quickie spin-off/prequel was devised, directed by the cinematographer of the previous film, John R. Leonetti, without any of the original cast. Annabelle doesn't bring a single new idea to the screen, and most of the scares are of the jump-shock variety.

But some of the old standbys still work, and Annabelle is certainly well-made; it's directed with patience, a sense of space, and incredible period detail. The performances are fine, especially Woodard as a grieving mother who runs a helpful bookshop, and the characters are sympathetic and intelligent. (The husband could take offense to his wife's experiences, but he chooses to support her.)

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Annabelle's violence. How did it affect you? How much is shown, and how much is withheld?

  • Is the movie scary? How does it compare to other horror films you've seen? What makes something scary -- and what's the appeal of scary movies?

  • If The Conjuring was based on a true story, does Annabelle also feel like a true story? Does it make you believe in ghosts?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

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