While the original Conjuring films from 2013 and 2016 inspired fear into the hearts of the viewers, Annabelle (2014) was a film that inspired petty shrieking and an hour’s worth of laughter. So, the franchise was again dry and left with no content. What to do? Well, Warner Bros and New Line decided it’s time to create an origin story for the possessed doll it’ll be great! Can’t be worse than the first one?
Well yeah, it’s not, but it’s not really great either. Director James Wan was being busy working on Aquaman, and Leonetti hiding wherever he should be. The studio brought in David F. Sandberg, an auteur of the horror arts responsible for 2016’s Lights Out.
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The Movie Review
Annabelle Creation follows the story of Samuel and Esther Mullins, whose daughter Annabelle has tragically died from being run over by a car. Now 12 years after the incident, the grieving couple decides to build something new in memory of Annabelle.
So they provide shelter to Sister Charlotte and six girls left homeless by the closing of their orphanage. While living there, strange things begin to happen to one girl in particular named Janice. Who has a deeply spiritual and supernatural connection with Annabelle’s spirit will lead to some disastrous events…
The film isn’t exceptional, to say the least; however, it isn’t bad at all. It’s a typical horror film yet it doesn’t fall down the rabbit hole quite as Annabelle did with its under-stylised use of common tropes. It also won’t hurt to mention that the movie is particularly good at being scary, and not just that it’s scary but also quite ominously bleak.
John F. Sandburg’s direction here is key to making this film work, as he doesn’t just make sure that the film isn’t falling prey to common horror tropes but also elevating the film through cinematic choices such as better camera work and lighting.
This is a slow film though, so that does take away from the intensity of the overall experience as a ton of it is just spent in conversations about Annabelle, or moments that surround Annabelle who is a person that is dead in the film, mind you.
The performances here are drastically different than what you would expect from a horror film, there isn’t much screaming if at all here, and rather much quieter stubbornness that runs through each character’s personality.
From Stephanie Sigman’s portrayal of the distraught Sister Charlotte to Talitha Bateman’s hardcore, bone-chilling acting as Janice, the film has amazing acting from start to finish with many stand-out moments.
Though the problem here arises with the film trying so hard to put away all the horror tropes that it kind of feeds into pretentious territory. It has a bleak ending, but one that you might not expect or even like, it’s just something you see coming from a mile away after a pretty bombing third half.
The music isn’t anything exceptional here though; it’s kind of off for the most parts and is a very gimmicky horror soundtrack for the rest of it. It doesn’t really encapsulate the intensity of the film and doesn’t even provide you with fun or morbid tunes to listen to when you’re done watching it.
The set design is actually pretty decent though, as the film has good lighting for the entirety of its run time and the characters are well lit or well hidden in the backgrounds according to the scene.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, I feel like Annabelle Creation just missed the mark in becoming a good film. It’s a pretty above-average movie with some highlight-worthy scenes and sequences, but it doesn’t come close to the original Conjuring films.
It doesn’t even surpass the first Insidious, which was in itself a somewhat weaker version of the Conjuring movies. However, Annabelle’s poor soundtrack couldn’t hinder my experience as I thoroughly enjoyed the horror, the direction, and even the amazing lighting in the film.