John Gordon has found the perfect gift for both his pregnant wife Mia and their unborn child—Annabelle, a beautiful and rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. Unfortunately, the family's delight with the doll is shortlived. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack John and Mia. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity, which is so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now Annabelle.
The film got its own prequel in 2017 called Annabelle: Creation.
- Anachronism Stew: Though the film does an appreciable job to avoid this, there are still several anachronisms (the film is set in the late Sixties):
- 911 wasn't used as a national emergency number until 1968, and even then didn't cover much of the United States.
- Mia's sewing machine is IKEA. IKEA didn't show up in the US until 1985, or even have a store outside Scandinavia until 1973.
- Mia is hooked up in an IV kit contained in a plastic bag after giving birth to Leah. In that time period, one would be hooked into a glass bottle◊. Plastic bags weren't used until the 1970's.
- Ultrasound didn't really take off in the United States until the late 70's/early 80's.
- Adult Fear: Much of the horror, and scary stuff, of the movie comes from the presence of the baby (and, before that, Mia's pregnancy).
- Bittersweet Ending: It depends entirely on your point of view. On the one hand, the family is fine and the doll is gone by the end. On the other, it was only after Evelyn effectively committed suicide after offering her soul to the demon. So everyone else is fine, but she's dead and probably hellbound. The one silver lining is "God still has a purpose for you." So presumably her sacrifice somehow didn't end with her hellbound.
- Clingy Mc Guffin: The doll comes back even if thrown away.
- Cool Old Lady: Evelyn. She is able to suggest a cause and solution for whatever happened to Leah before anyone else does. And she actively talks Mia into discussing her problem rather than hiding it. Plus, she is pushed down by the demon and shrugs it off!Evelyn: Mia, I'm old. That means that there are very little things that can surprise me. If there is something shocking, I'm too tired to show it.
- Cult: The "Disciples of the Ram", the cult the living Annabelle belonged to.
- Elevator Escape: At one point, Mia escapes into an elevator.
- Foregone Conclusion: In The Conjuring, the Annabelle doll still exists and is still a very dangerous item. And the movie itself shows what happened before other characters got the doll and were terrified by it.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Annabelle Higgins, who turned the doll evil in first place.
- Haunted Fetter: The Annabelle doll serves as one to the demon.
- Historical Beauty Update: Inverted with Annabelle. The real Annabelle doll is a Raggedy Ann doll, not the more human-looking and terrifying thing that appears here.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: Almost nine months into her pregnancy, Mia has to endure: being stabbed in the stomach with a knife, then having to helplessly see her kitchen caught on flame, choked with smoke, violently thrown into the floor, and then pulled by an unseen force when she crawls away for dear life. Thankfully, she manages to give birth to her baby relatively unharmed.
- Infant Immortality: The whole point of the film is that all the main characters have to do something so Leah can survive the haunting unharmed. Ultimately played straight, but at the cost of Evelyn's life.
- Number of the Beast: When Mia's stuck in the storage room elevator with the devil, no less, she frantically tries in vain to get to the 6th floor 3 times.
- Offing the Offspring: Subverted. After Leah disappears, Mia repeatedly slams Annabelle into the crib before throwing it down, only to discover that the doll is apparently her baby transformed, and she has a brief My God, What Have I Done? moment. However, the demon is doing this just to mess with Mia, as Leah is still alive and in his possession.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Highlighted during a scene when Annabelle (the cultist)'s ghost haunts Leah. She is first seen limping through the nursery room at the far end of the corridor...only to suddenly appear in the living room (still limping) right in front of the sleeping Mia.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Evelyn lost her daughter in a car accident that was technically her fault.
- Red Herring: Annabelle's ghost? Nope. Everything is caused by a demon that was summoned by the cult to which she belonged. That said, the Warrens already said anything about this in The Conjuring.
- Self-Made Orphan: Annabelle the cultist murders her parents before committing suicide to complete the ritual to summon the demon.
- Supernatural-Proof Father: John is resistant to believe that the events have supernatural origins, but he's still more than willing to believe his wife.