It's been a while since I've written up any type of movie review. As many of my friends and readers know, I'm a huge horror movie fan. In fact, I've seen so many it's hard to keep track. This can at times make me more critical--when you've seen enough, you start to see patterns, similarities, cliches and everything in-between and it can be a drag. So I probably didn't go into this one with a completely open mind, and I'll admit that *might* have added to my lack of enjoyment of this film.
For anyone not familiar, this is the movie in question. It's a prequel of sorts to the film the Conjuring (which was a decent film) and the story centers around a young couple and a haunted doll. (It is also extremely loosely inspired by a supposed real haunted doll in the care of paranormal researchers Ed & Lorraine Warren.)
First off, I think the filmmakers did too good of a job finding the creepiest doll possible.To the point I had a hard time believing anyone would actually want it...let alone believe a young husband would actually gift this thing to his pregnant wife. I was actually snickering when she opens the box and happily accepts it from him. Really? Really?
The movie itself plods along slowly and takes a while to get to any supernatural type stuff. In fact, a good portion of the story just centers around this young couple preparing for the birth of their first child. Which isn't necessarily a deal breaker, except for the fact that the haunted doll is supposed to be the main attraction. Instead, it's pretty much just creepy background scenery. Then, they're attacked by members of a satanic cult, and suddenly the movie morphs into a disjointed and sometimes confusing patchwork story of modern horror cinema.
All of these elements are introduced one after the other--a satanic cult, demonic possession, the entity is after the newborn baby, etc--leaving (at least with me) the feeling that there's a salesman waiting in the wings saying but wait, there's more!!! At some point I realized the movie was almost over and I didn't see how it could possibly be resolved in a satisfactory way without being rushed to a conclusion. The doll began to feel like a cheap gimmick, and I realized its presence didn't add anything to the story. It's simply a convenient vehicle for yet another 'satanic cult summons a demon that wreaks havoc on normal people' horror movie. And frankly, it just wasn't good enough for me to look past the familiar tropes.