Annabelle attempted to scare a ton of money out of terrified moviegoers this weekend using dolls and ghosts. Director John R. Leonetti, the man tasked with bringing the story to the big screen, admits that he’s experienced his own real-life paranormal activity.
For those who are late to the proverbial party, Annabelle tells the story of a creepy doll that wreaks all sorts of havoc on an unsuspecting family. The tale is loosely based on a true story, one that was briefly covered in last summer’s hit The Conjuring.
During his chat with the Latin Post to promote Annabelle, Leonetti was asked if he believes in ghosts and goblins. The filmmaker admitted that, during his youth, he had a close encounter with supernatural forces at an old motel. He also admits that The Exorcist really messed with his head because of his Catholic upbringing.
“I am open to it (paranormal activity), yes. I had my own personal experience once, way back in high school. I was raised Catholic, but I am not religious anymore, but I will say that ‘The Exorcist’ really affected me and then one little personal experience that I had definitely opened the door. I was in a motel where nobody was supposed to be upstairs, and there were people upstairs, on the ceiling — like in our movie — and scratching the door in the middle of the night, so that was kind of creepy.”
Of course, that story pales in comparison to the supernatural shenanigans found in Annabelle. Although the movie tries its best to elicit screams from audiences, the true story is still much creepier than anything you can find at your local cineplex. And while the filmmakers did an admirable job making Annabelle look downright frightening, it’s still not quite as creepy as the idea of a Raggedy Ann doll possessed by demonic forces.
Unfortunately for Annabelle, neither critics nor moviegoers were impressed with the endeavor. While The Conjuring received strong reviews, most people think the spin-off is something that’s best avoided. The film’s Rotten Tomatoes score is presently perched at an unhealthy 33 percent, while the site’s audience score sits at a measly 55 percent.
USA Today critic Claudia Puig was particularly unimpressed with Annabelle.
“The story is a mishmash of demonic possession, Satanic killings, machines suddenly switching on and off and vacantly-staring figurines. It’s more familiar than frightening. And the human actors are no more compelling than the poker-faced dolls.”
Did you catch Annabelle in theaters over the weekend? Have you ever experienced any paranormal activity of your own?
[Lead image via Warner Bros.]