Date Afternoon

My husband took a day off from work today after two consecutive weeks of traveling abroad. Our eldest left for school at 7 AM and finished at 3 PM. Our youngest left for school much later, at 11.15 AM and came home at the same time as his sister. I was supposed to go to Bogor to run some errands this morning, but (as usual) I slept very late last night, causing me to miss my taekwondo class and lose all interest to drive for hours (approximately 2.5 hours one way) to get there. Why would I leave the house if my husband, whom I hadn’t met in two weeks and whom I hadn’t dated properly in about eight years since our eldest was born, was staying at home all day? I’d rather do something more worthwhile for me and for the rest of the family, than sit in my car and get stuck in the traffic jam.

So in the morning I raided our wardrobe, got all of our clothes on the bed, and kind of forced my husband to choose which clothes to keep and which clothes to donate. It took us some good 1.5 hours to go through each shirt, short, etc. etc. and we ended up with three laundry bags. After the closet cleaning and downsizing, we hurriedly left for the theater. The movie option was either “Atomic Blonde” starring Charlize Theron or “Annabelle: Creation” starring unpopular actors.

For your information, he is an avid fan of horror movies. I mean, a really devoted fan up to the point he’s not easily scared anymore. Every time he’s watching this genre, he could pretty much predict the plots, started to guess the action sequences and the main ghosts, and eventually googled the “behind the scenes” acts. How odd. The last time he watched a horror was last year (The Conjuring 2), when I had stubbornly refused to go with him because I saw no point of paying somebody to scare me off. He ended up going with a colleague and, to my surprise, they had a wonderful time. The colleague moved to another city and my husband lost a companion to watch horror movie. Until today. I didn’t know how he talked me into it, perhaps by reminding me how terrible Charlize Theron was in Fast & Furious 8 because he just saw that movie last weekend during his flight home and he read the movie review I wrote. We were very disappointed with Charlize Theron that we became skeptical if her newest movie was any good. Long before it came out, I read somewhere that “Atomic Blonde” was supposed to be the female version of “John Wick”. Huh. Nothing compares to Keanu Reeves, and I pretty much doubted Ms. Theron could surpass the golden standard Mr. Reeves had created for this genre. To make it short, I decided to give the horror movie a go.

The last time I watched a horror movie was in 2006, also with my husband (then my boyfriend). It was “The Grudge 2” and I couldn’t sleep for days after we went to see it. For our date this afternoon, I brought along the kids’ blanket from our car just in case it got too cold inside the theater. Nah. The truth was, I brought it because I was already scared to death even before the movie started. We bought popcorn to distract my mind from being too tensed. It didn’t work. I couldn’t eat anything; I was afraid that I would choke while I was eating because the ghost made me scream every now and then. My head throbbed, I had neck and shoulders pain because I was terrified by the movie. Do you want to know what it was about?

It was about the daughter of Samuel Mullins, a wooden doll maker, who died young at the age of 7 due to a car accident. The beginning of the movie portrayed how well Samuel did his job, how happy he was playing with Annabelle and his wife, and how devoted Christians they were. One Sunday on their way home from church, their car broke down. Mrs. Mullins, on her attempt to stop a passing car to help them, didn’t realize that Annabelle was running to the middle of the street to chase a bolt gliding from her father’s car. The scene was closed with a loud thud and it moved forward to 12 years later. Annabelle’s graveyard with a cross with her name written on it was the first scene before a car filled with a priest, a nun, and six orphaned girls was shown traveling to the home of the Mullins. The youngest of the group were Janice, whose legs were limping due to polio, and Linda. The other four girls seemed bigger and much older than these two. The nun and the girls were welcomed to stay at the Mullins with restriction; they could never go to that one room on the second floor. “It is locked and it will stay that way,” said Samuel Mullins. Mrs. Mullins was unable to walk, spent her days in her bedroom, and she rang the bell every time she needed assistance from her husband.

That was just the preface. The problem started when Janice broke the rule and went into the room of the late Annabelle. There she freed the scary, kid-human sized doll in a white dress which was previously locked inside the closet with pages from the Bible plastered all over the door. The dead Annabelle then started to scare Janice off in order to acquire her soul, and one night the evil spirit threw her from the second to the first floor, causing Janice to be unable to walk permanently. She had been trying to tell Sister Charlotte, the nun, that an evil spirit was present inside the house, but the Sister didn’t believe her. Nobody did (like typical horror movie). The evil finally took Janice’s soul away, and started its hunting spree on the other girls. The focus of the story then shifted to Linda and how brave she was to defend herself. She even took the scary doll to the field, threw it into an old, abandoned well, in a vain hope that it would stop disturbing everyone inside the Mullins house. The doll, of course, escaped the well, managed to kill the Mullins couple, harmed Sister Charlotte, and almost killed one of the remaining four girls (Nancy). How did the story end? Did the doll kill everyone? Did it escape the exorcism performed by Sister Charlotte? You’d better see it by yourself, because writing about the plots right now just gave me the goose bumps once again.

I meant it when I said that it’s ridiculous to pay somebody to scare me off. I think paying to watch a horror movie is one of the worst ways to spend money. Unlike romance or crime genres, horror genre is something I can’t grasp and enjoy for any reason at all. Lucky us, there were only fifteen people inside the theater; otherwise I would have been kicked out from it because I screamed too often. The movie was heart-pounding, nerve-wrecking, and making me want to puke. I really thought the worst actors to play the roles of criminals and ghosts are children. They’re supposed to be innocent but the characters they’re playing were displaying extreme evil that I couldn’t stand it. It felt pretty much the same with when I watched “Logan” and saw mutant kids killing the soldiers hunting them. It’s not right; it’s not supposed to be like that.

For those who are into horror movies, I can only relay to you the opinion of my husband. He said that the movie was not as exciting as “The Conjuring 2”, which was actually meant to be the sequel of “Annabelle: Creation”. The last scenes of “Annabelle” did reveal the opening to “The Conjuring 2”. He also said that the movie was kind of predictable, in terms of the number of ghosts and from where they appeared. Believe me, when he made this review he put on a poker face while I quietly trembled because I could still see the scenes replaying in my head. My husband joked that my cycle to watch a horror movie is probably every 11 years (2006, 2017, and perhaps 2028), just like the 12-year cycle in “Annabelle”. To that joke I feverishly shook my head and replied, “Sorry, but I’m so done with horror movie.” I really love him, but he will need to find another companion to watch this genre.


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