“Annabelle,” Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton. Freaky prequel to 2013’s surprise hit “The Conjuring” foregoes most of the cleverness and craft of its predecessor in favor of nonstop tension and blunt scares, skillfully delivered in abundance by director John Leonetti (“Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”), who is blessed with easily one of cinema’s creepiest props: the titular doll, a thoroughly malevolent-looking antique repeatedly snapped up by hapless collectors unaware of the otherworldly torment that awaits them. While “Annabelle” isn’t as lively as Chucky or the infamous Zuni fetish doll from “Trilogy of Terror,” there are more than enough terrifying scenes to earn it a nearby spot on the shelf. Rated R. Running time: 1:38. Suggested retail price: $28.98; Blu-ray $35.99

“The Boxtrolls,” animated, with the voices of Simon Pegg, Elle Fanning. Based on the popular novel “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow, this raucous, visually stunning adaptation from the masterminds behind “Coraline” and “Paranorman” follows young Eggs (Isaac Hempsted-Wright), a young boy raised among Boxtrolls, unsightly but essentially good-hearted little creatures who scavenge for useful items and work to repair a town populated by citizens who misunderstand their intentions, fearing and hunting them. “The Boxtrolls” has a welcome Roald Dahl sensibility that should delight kids and parents fatigued by the usual onslaught of talking animal dreck. Rated PG. Running time: 1:37. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98

“Lucy,” Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman. After a few lackluster attempts (“The Family,” anyone? No?), gonzo filmmaker Luc Besson (“The Fifth Element”) is back in fighting form with this proudly insane and truly clever action-drama, with Johansson ably embodying Lucy, a party girl turned drug mule when a baggie of supercharged narcotics is inserted into her belly, whereupon said bag open and suddenly enables her to access 100 percent of her brain. Now Lucy’s mad, and capable of revenge far beyond the wildest dreams of her attackers, a spectacle Besson of course presents with flair and abandon. Rated R. Running time: 1:30. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98


“White Bird in a Blizzard,” Shailene Woodley, Eva Green. The latest from director Gregg Araki (“Mysterious Skin”) is an unusually faithful and tight adaptation of the novel by Laura Kasischke, the compellingly sordid story of 18-year-old Kat (Woodley, “Divergent”), a cooped-up and sexually frustrated young woman suddenly liberated by the inexplicable disappearance of her unhappy mother (Green, “Casino Royale”), freeing her up to seek comfort in the arms of men both her age (Shiloh Fernandez, “Evil Dead”) and considerably older (Thomas Jane, “Hung”). Such dalliances are soon forgotten, however, when the facts surrounding her mother’s disappearance begin coming to light. Rated R. Running time: 1:31. Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.99

“The Zero Theorem,” Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton. Director Terry Gilliam’s tale of a tortured programmer (Waltz) tasked with developing a mathematical formula said to prove beyond all doubt that life is utterly without meaning. It’s an endeavor complicated by a wide variety of obstacles, including the appearance of an attractive teenager (Melanie Thierry) with seeming designs on him, a friendly but inscrutable co-worker (David Thewlis, “Naked”) and a constantly aware and demanding Management (Matt Damon). Rated R. Running time: 1:47. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98


“The Drop,” Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace. With the final screen appearance of James Gandolfini being touted as its raison d’etre, this Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) adaptation is a more-than-solid working-class crime drama even apart from that distinction, wearing a compelling, troubling web of deceit and violence surrounding unassuming bar employee Bob (Hardy, dialing back his usual intensity for the most part), whose involvement by proxy with the local Chechnya mob and burgeoning relationship with a neighbor (Rapace) and her abusive ex-boyfriend (Matthias Schonaerts, “Rust and Bone”) is about to reach its boiling point. Rated R. Running time: 1:47. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

– Courtesy of Videoport