Movie Review: Annabelle: Creation – Once Upon a Time

Annabelle Creation

Genre: Horror/Mystery

Director: David F. Sandberg

Running Time: 109 Minutes

“You don’t know the real story.”

– Subtitle on the theatrical poster

The Plot

After the tragic and sudden death of their daughter, a doll-maker and his wife decide to offer a group of orphaned girls the use of their home. Initially, it seems like this act of kindness is almost a type of penance but sinister things start to happen. The creepy events appear to be centred around a doll, named after the couple’s deceased daughter, Annabelle. The creepy occurrences start to affect everyone in different ways, when Janice (Talitha Bateman) finds Annabelle in a secret compartment in an old, expressly off limits bedroom.

Annabelle Creation - Mullins Family Home

Performances & Special Effects

Undoubtedly, the best performance was given by Annabelle the doll. Sandberg’s use of the doll was superb and at times, you forget that it’s just a prop. All-in-all the performances weren’t bad. I didn’t enjoy Mrs Mullin’s character (Miranda Otto). I felt that she was underutilised. This is not a criticism of the actress but rather on the creative direction. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Talitha Bateman was able to switch from innocent orphan girl with a good heart to psychopathic, murderous maniac with a knife so smoothly. For such a young actress, she did sinister almost too well.

Annabelle Creation - Janice

The SFX were simple, and often relied on the atmosphere for effect. The makeup on the demon was pristine, as always. There were a number of jump scares but I found them to be well-timed and effective. The only dodgy CGI was in a scene where Mr Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) has his fingers bend back and broken.

My favourite special effect/creepy character was the Scarecrow. Scarecrows are inherently eerie, especially when they are alone in a barn or field, but this one was down right terrifying. When the girls first encounter it, the audience knows that this is meant to be foreshadowing but it was fun and uncomfortable to watch it come to life. Kudos to Sandberg for using the scarecrow differently.

Annabelle Creation -Scarecrow.jpg

The Review

I enjoyed Annabelle: Creation far more than I did Annabelle. It was intriguing and interesting from the start and really got the audience going with a bang. I think that there could have been more interesting writing, as the characters were often annoying and did stupid shit. Linda (Lulu Wilson) was the best example of what not to do in a horror movie but at the same time was the only character paying enough attention to what was happening around her to pinpoint Annabelle as the problem. She tries to destroy the doll, but she doesn’t know that the doll isn’t really the responsible party here.

Annabelle Creation - Linda & the Well.jpg

I was surprised by the level of gore and the manner in which some characters died, but this was a welcomed and pleasant surprise. I was worried that this movie was going to be too soft. Sandberg did not disappoint. The main issue, for me, was the ending. It obviously needed to be open ended, as this is a prequel movie, but something about it was unfinished, rushed and anticlimactic. That said, this film piqued my interest, and I find myself interested in seeing where the Annabelle story goes, and how it will intersect with The Conjuring again.

The film was fun to watch with a group of friends, especially when one of your besties spent the evening under a blanket and behind a pillow, constantly asking “why?” when the doll was on screen, and even when the doll wasn’t on screen. I definitely recommend this type of screening, if you are going to give it a go.

My rating: 3/5

Buy or rent Annabelle: Creation on Amazon.

You might like:

The Conjuring

Insidious

Lights Out

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