Title: Annabelle: Creation
Release Date: August 11, 2017
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: David F. Sandberg
Release Format: Theatrical
I maintain that Annabelle was one of the worst films of 2014 and it is a real shame when you think about it. When people think of The Conjuring, they remember that doll more than what happened in the actual movie. Just the very look of that doll was nightmare inducing. Therefore, the fact that the studios managed to produce such a dud of a first film are actually a bit depressing. Another horror film, Ouija, was also produced in 2014 and sucked every bit as much as Annabelle did. What’s the connection between Annabelle and Ouija? Well, as of now, they’re both terrible movies that managed to spawn impressive and genuinely frightening prequels. Now, Annabelle: Creation is no Ouija: Origin Of Evil, but it certainly gets the job done, improving on its predecessor in every way.
Taking place a mere decade before the original film, Annabelle: Creation gives us pretty much what the title says; the creation of the doll. Twelve years after the death of their daughter, a doll maker and his ailing wife invite a nun and several orphaned girls to live in their home. Unfortunately, one of the orphans, Janice (Talitha Bateman) finds the hidden doll called Annabelle, unleashing her wrath upon the house. Now, Janice and her friend Linda (Lulu Wilson) must discover what Annabelle wants or suffer the consequences.
If the description sounds vague, that’s by design. Revealing more could give you more spoilers than the trailers already gave you. If you have a choice, don’t watch the trailers before seeing this movie. The trailers ruined plot points meant to be surprising. Therefore, I can guarantee that you’ll get a much better experience by not watching the trailers. The less you know going into this film, the better. Going into Annabelle: Creation, my first thought was how can they make a prequel to Annabelle? I mean, for all intents and purposes, that film already gave an origin. It was a bad origin but still an origin nonetheless. Would this be an actual prequel to that film and, if so, how would it tie in to the first film?
Well, in all fairness, they do address this. While you’re forced to suspend your disbelief a little for the tie-in, it’s actually satisfying given what they had to work with. I’d even go as far as to say that Annabelle: Creation, to a certain extent, makes the first film better. It goes more in depth and explains things better that were barely explained in Annabelle. The ironic thing about all of this is that both films had the same writer, Gary Dauberman. Maybe it was the change in directors but who really knows. David F. Sandberg replaced John R. Leonetti as director this time around, apparently bringing the effective atmosphere in creepiness of last year’s Lights Out with him.
Sandberg manages to stage some frightening moments for Annabelle: Creation, moments that were all absent from the previous film. There’s one scene, in particular, involving a lift on a staircase that had me on the edge of my seat. In addition, after watching this film, you will never hear the song “You are my sunshine” the same way again. Much like he did with Lights Out, Sandberg understands the prospect of allowing scares to just happen, instead of just jacking up the music real loud… for the most part. The beginning of this film does have a few jump scares but they quickly fade away. Still, it’s worth noting that the film didn’t need them in the first place and would have been better without them.
Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto as the dollmaker and his wife bring their A-Games in selling the creepy atmosphere of the house. Miranda Otto herself has a few especially terrifying moments. Sandberg’s greatest contribution is his ability to get great performances from his actors. Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson have great chemistry together and the film does a great job at making you care about them. While it was Lulu Wilson playing the creepy child in Ouija: Origin Of Evil, that is not her role this time around. Instead, she plays more the concerned friend, trying to keep Janice safe. Talitha Bateman is very much the main character, stricken with polio, trying not to be a victim of her condition.
Even though the film does a good job at developing her, it kind of drops the ball when it keeps having her make the same stupid mistake over and over. I mean, how many times can you go into the same locked room before realizing it’s haunted? Too many times apparently. I can’t say Annabelle: Creation is perfect. In any movie like this, flaws are inevitable. As I said, they can’t all be Ouija: Origin Of Evil. The biggest flaw of Annabelle: Creation for me was the climax. It all feels a bit too drawn out. Intense and frightening to be sure but still long. Certain moments such as a scarecrow coming to life didn’t even seem to make sense. The way they defeat Annabelle also felt weak. While the very end that ties into the first film is fine, the character’s defeat just feels kind of random.
Overall: Annabelle: Creation has enough scares, atmosphere, and good acting to keep it afloat. Gary Dauberman has obviously learned from his writing mistakes the last time around and has certainly redeemed himself with his follow-up. Let’s hope his script for the IT remake is more Annabelle: Creation and less Annabelle. In any case, it can’t be much worse than The Dark Tower. David F. Sandberg has solidified himself to me as a director to watch. Having made two good horror films in a row, it’s amazing that any director these days can even make good horror anymore. It’s something you have to appreciate when it comes along.
Fun Fact: One of the girls received a Raggedy Ann Doll as a gift in this film. This is an especially fun easter egg as the Annabelle Doll in real life was, in fact, a Raggedy Ann Doll.
- Great Atmosphere
- Great Acting
- Mostly Genuine Scares
- Good Use Of Lighting
- The Raggedy Ann Doll Was A Nice Touch
- Ties In Decently To The First Film In The End
- Main Character Makes One Too Many Stupid Moves
- Dragged Out And Lackluster Climax
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.