Published by: Anthony Wallace
It’s the prequel to the spin-off that left a sour taste in fan’s mouths when ‘Annabelle‘ released in late 2014. As ‘The Conjuring‘ took the horror genre by storm it was also the start of what would become a world building franchise. The Annabelle doll story was so famously remembered that Warner Bros. ran with the hype and began the project not so long after ‘The Conjuring’ release. Its release was met with lukewarm reactions by fans and critics that it felt more like a cash grab than a full on attempt in making a truly terrifying experience. Which leads us now to ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ and bringing the story full circle.
When Samuel and Esther Mullins lose their daughter in a tragic accident, years later they welcome a nun and foster children to live in their home. But when one of the children, Linda, discovers a doll in a locked room she unwittingly releases an unspeakable evil. As the family begins to take notice of the changes in Linda’s behavior they must gather together to save her soul.
The interest in another Annabelle film was not something I anticipated or expected seeing as how the last one had ended. Yet the studio had other plans and sought out the director of David F. Sandberg’s with ‘Lights Out‘. A first time success built confidence in not only the director but in producer James Wan as well. Their collaboration together could make for great cinema. And after watching ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ it can easily be said that the film has put fear back into the cinematic audience.
What starts as a bright movie about a loving family is suddenly transformed into a moment of tragedy. The tone of the movie easily shifts from moment to moment with ease which eventually leads to nothing but terror by the end. Young actress, Talitha Bateman, plays a paraplegic orphan who goes to forbidden places and the rest is history. One thing that the Conjuring series has done right is by focusing on young talent and their vulnerability to evil. Speaking of which, we should mention a supporting role in Lulu Wilson who plays the friend of Janice. Wilson played the lead in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ (2016) as a young girl who gets possessed by a demonic spirit after playing with a ouija board. She’s an easy fit for a franchise that has benefited by young actors.
David Sandberg did an amazing job in building suspense with a creepy house and a menacing doll. What benefited Sandberg and what was lacking in the original ‘Annabelle‘ was the proper build up of fear. The use of lights and shadows played effectively here with moments of hair raising fright. Even though the setup may be familiar it certainly was more entertaining to watch. If audiences play close enough attention they’ll also get an easter egg for a cinematic building universe.
Though the film does a better job at telling a story it does suffer from a lack of major character development. It was even more surprising when a certain character departs after revealing something of importance to one of the children. The movie basically tries to shift between the children characters that we can never get close to any of them. Ultimately it’s the doll that wins and this time it has the proper screen time to prove it. As we get to the ending it makes the connection to the first film. My only gripe would be that the events that precedes this film is a reminder of how much it let me down in the first place.
With that said, ‘Annabelle: Creation‘ is a vast improvement in story-telling with compelling characters and a little something called passion. David Sandberg has succeeded again with the help of James Wan in his corner. Fans of the Conjuring series will rejoice and can only look forward to what the franchise will bring next. If James Wan were to move on from the franchise we can be rest-assured that it will be in good hands with the likes of an up and coming director.
What do you guys think? Are you planning on watching ‘Annabelle: Creation‘? Is Annabelle a compelling character that needs to be further explored? Comment below and share your thoughts.