A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters include a loving married couple who are expecting a baby. Though they're affectionate, they're rarely physical toward each other.
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Products & Purchases
A late 1960s "Jiffy Pop" popcorn popper is shown.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.)
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.