Release Date: 23 February
2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: John R Leonetti Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley
It’s easy to
pour scorn on Annabelle and its predecessor, The Conjuring. Both suffer from a dearth of new ideas and borrow heavily from older, better films. They go for quiet/ loud jump scares too often, rather than building a real sense of dread.
The ingredients here are familiar: a happy couple buy a doll that gets possessed by a demonic entity. They move house, but the doll comes after them, causing all manner of supernatural havoc by slamming doors, attacking priests and – really frightening this – dicking about with their record player.
It’s old hat, then. But there’s a charm to Annabelle. The ’ 60s setting, complete with Manson paranoia, is well evoked. The cast is fine, though Alfre Woodard practically has “Ask me about my usefulness as a plot device” written on a name badge. Crucially, Annabelle herself is a frightful thing. The ominous lingering shots of the doll are pregnant with menace. You sit, nervously waiting for her to move, but the film smartly resists the temptation of going full Chucky.
Hardcore horror fans may grumble about Annabelle’s success. That’s okay – this isn’t for them. It’s mainstream horror aimed at a teen audience who just want some good, spooky fun. In that regard, it works just fine.
The DVD has a five- minute piece discussing spooky goings- on on set. The Blu- ray ( rated) adds short featurettes on a murder scene, the doll and make- up, plus 20 minutes of deleted scenes. Will Salmon Annabelle is based on a “real” possessed doll. Linked to one death, it currently resides in an occult museum in Connecticut.
Smart quantum- theory thriller
Release Date: 16 February
2013 | 15 | DVD Director: James Ward Byrkit Cast: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Hugo Armstrong
With a highconcept
idea that could easily confuse a good chunk of the audience, a budget that makes Paranormal Activity look like a blockbuster, a shoot that lasted a mere five nights and dialogue that’s largely improvised, Coherence should be anything but coherent. Instead, what we have here is an astonishingly gripping thriller that barely sets foot outside of somebody’s lounge and yet still has us gasping at its breadth.
With a cast of actors you might not recognise ( barring Buffy’s Nicholas Brendon, whose character is strangely meta – you’ll see what we mean when you watch it), at first the plot seems to be nothing more than a routine schlock horror, as a comet passing overhead causes weird things to happen to a group of friends assembled for a dinner party. But what weird things they are: common- or- garden disrupted phone and Wi- Fi signals soon start turning into concepts that cover everything from Schrödinger’s cat to Sliding Doors, leaving you scratching your head trying to work everything out – particularly when doubles start turning up…
The performances are perfect, the characters believable and the plot twists occasionally chilling. Somehow, against all odds, Coherence weaves a complex, puzzling and fascinating tale of universes colliding that you won’t forget in a hurry.
A director’s commentary, a short Making Of and camera test footage. Jayne Nelson Nicholas Brendon’s identical twin Kelly Donovan makes a fleeting appearance as his other self – just as he did in Buffy.
The wait for the light bulb supplier continued.
Forgotten by history, there was a sixth Spice Girl…