REVIEW: Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – New Line Cinema

The following is a review of Annabelle: Creation – Directed by David F. Sandberg.

Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to 2014’s Annabelle, which takes place twelve years prior to the first film. The film follows Sister Charlotte (played by Stephanie Sigman) and a group of orphans who move into the house of a former dollmaker, Samuel Mullins (played by Anthony LaPaglia).

The Mullins family lost their daughter to an accident twelve years earlier, but they are now ready to open their house to kids that will, at the very least, liven up the place. But not all dolls are created equal, and the Mullins family has one very special doll hidden in their daughter’s old room. That doll ‘is’ Annabelle, and she is ready to play on the young orphans’ fears.

Everybody wants to be Marvel. While Warner Bros.’ DC Cinematic Universe is hard at work trying to catch up with Disney’s Marvel universe, they may not realize that another one of their franchises has become extremely popular in the meantime. Their Conjuring film universe has quietly become one of the more successful cinematic universes, and Annabelle: Creation ensures its future.

Easter eggs, both mid-credits and post-credits scenes, and references to other characters from other and future films — Annabelle: Creation is the glue that holds the future of Warner Bros.’ unlikely horror cinematic universe together. After Leonetti’s Annabelle from 2014, it shouldn’t work, but with the added ability of relative newcomer David F. Sandberg the Conjuring film universe suddenly looks set to be successful even without the universe’s creator – James Wan – at the helm.

Annabelle: Creation is sure to be a crowd-pleasing horror film, but it is also just so much better than the film it is a direct prequel to. David F. Sandberg, the seemingly gifted director who also made last year’s Lights Out, injects Annabelle: Creation with a lot of genuinely effective creepy imagery. Now, does the film rely somewhat on jump-scares? Sure. But it is one of the more enjoyable jump-scare heavy horror films of recent years.

I thought that the two central characters – Lulu Wilson’s Linda and Talitha Bateman’s Janice – were both very good in the film, and I also really enjoyed the world-building and shared universe references.

But while I really like the movie, there are a couple of things about Annabelle: Creation that keep it from being as good as either of Wan’s Conjuring films. To be honest with you, these issues could seriously derail the experience for you, but they ultimately weren’t so problematic for me that I stopped having fun with the film.

Creation does feel slightly formulaic and predictable. Were it not for the filmmaking behind the film, then I would have been miserable with how unoriginal this horror movie is. Annabelle: Creation feels very familiar and that is my biggest problem with the film.

Then I have to mention something that normally doesn’t bother me. I’m the kind of guy who will seldom be bothered by dumb characters. I tend to excuse dumb character choices. If you’re the kind of person who is going to roll your eyes in exasperation because of illogical character choices, then you’ll be less than pleased by the characters in Creation. At some point here, it is very odd that the central characters don’t just abandon the location.

As I was walking out of the theater, after having seen both a mid-credits and post-credits scene (no one else waited to see if anything was shown), two women were discussing the movie. One of them said to the other: “That is literally the scariest movie of all-time.”

It isn’t. But it is scary and it is going to be a very fun experience for horror movie fans, even though the story isn’t all that original. You’ve seen films like Annabelle: Creation before, but this is a well done horror film that is easy to recommend to fans of the franchise. It is a crowd-pleasing film. They actually made a good Conjuring film universe spin-off. Annabelle: Creation is proof that true talent behind the camera can improve films with a terribly generic horror movie plot.

7 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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