By Kayla Caldwell
I love a good horror movie. Hell, I love a bad horror movie if it’s good in the right ways. But one of my favorite sub-genres of horror is teens playing creepy games. “Truth or Dare?” I’m in. “Ouija?” So there. “Uncanny Annie?” Okay, I’m intrigued.
It didn’t hurt that “Uncanny Annie” is the latest from Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series, which I happen to love. A horror movie for every holiday. Who could ask for anything more?
“Uncanny Annie” follows six friends who get together on Halloween night to play board games in lieu of more typical fanfare, as an homage to their late friend Tony, who had died the year before on that exact day. (The goth child in me can’t decide if that is particularly tragic or if I’d want that to be the day I join the spirit realm… but I digress. )
They opt for board games because Tony used to love them - particularly the more immersive, all-encompassing games - or as one character says “games that take all day” - such as Settlers of Catan or Dungeons & Dragons.
Much like Jumanji, Uncanny Annie appears seemingly out of nowhere, intermixed with the other board games tucked away in the basement. The gang lands on Uncanny Annie after labeling some of the more traditional games “boring.” Besides, it is Halloween, after all. Why not choose something spooky?
Well, you’re in for about an hour and a half of reasoning for exactly why not. See, Uncanny Annie is kind of like truth or dare, except it’s pretty much all dare… and if you decline your challenge, you’re forced to pick up another card… which is essentially just another dare.
On the other hand, if you successfully complete your challenge, you get to place one of the five wooden, lettered tiles on the game board. Get all five, and the game is over. You’ve won.
However, Annie is keeping score. One card shows the titular character herself standing with her back to the camera. You only have one hour to complete gameplay or Annie’s coming for you - and she doesn’t play fair. The box warns, “You are now in Annie’s box of fun, where you must play along to see the sun.”
But it’s probably just a joke to creep you out, right? I mean, it seems easy enough. There are five tiles and six people playing the game. They’ll win in no time. That’s what they thought, at least.
If you fail to complete your challenges, the punishment is a bit more intense than simply losing the game. The stress of these stakes would be enough for anyone to buckle under - but this group of friends harbors a dark secret that makes the night all the more difficult.
The movie builds up to the reveal slowly, but when you finally find out what it is, it’s even more horrible than what you were probably imagining. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say Karlisha Hurley is delightfully unsettling as the game’s titular Annie.
Her “box of fun” packs quite the crew of malevolent spirits and beasts, who attempt to thwart the group’s success at every turn.
“Into the Dark” effectively utilizes each month’s special day to create unique takes on horror. Few are actually based outside of the “real” world, and so “Uncanny Annie” is a fun venture into the supernatural for the series.
Now streaming on Hulu, “Uncanny Annie” is the perfect movie to get you into the Halloween spirit (if you weren’t feeling it already.).
(All Images courtesy of Hulu)