A prequel no one asked for to a movie nobody liked based on a character from a movie everyone loved. Annabelle: Creation has absolutely no business being as good of a film as it is. Yet somehow it succeeds in being extremely creepy and delivering the scares where as the first Annabelle movie and even The Conjuring 2 failed. Like last years Ouija: Origin of Evil, Annabelle: Creation surpasses its predecessor with a prequel that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Much like Ouija: OoE, it plays on something we’re already afraid of… Ouija Boards and dolls. Annabelle: Creation goes to the past, stars Lulu Wilson, takes place in a large creepy house and deals with items that themselves are not necessarily evil but are gateways to something that is.
Annabelle: Creation opens with the Mullins family, Samuel Mullins, played by Anthony LaPaglia is a toy maker working on a doll that is a limited edition of 100 that we will later learn to call Annabelle. Esther Mullin played by Miranda Otto, a housewife and their happy little daughter “Bee” that is their pride and joy. Of course tragedy strikes and the Mullin’s little “Bee” is taken from them. Twelve years later Samuel, who is looking more distressed than he already did earlier in the film and his wife who is now bedridden and deteriorating in health, decide to open up their home to Sister Charlotte and a group of 6 orphans looking for a new place to live. Then hilarity ensues.
Just kidding, once the orphans get to the house is when the real sense of foreboding begins in this movie. Up until this point, the movie slowly moves along establishing characters and location. The Mullins live in a large house out in the middle of nowhere. Once the kids arrive and begin exploring the vast house, the main orphan Janice who is stricken with Polio stumbles upon the Mullin’s daughter’s room. But the room is locked, will remain locked and is off limits. But something draws Janice to this room and something invites her in as one night the door is unlocked…
Annabelle: Creation plays more like a haunted house movie than a haunted doll movie. Actually assuming you haven’t seen the first Annabelle movie, up until the evil is revealed it is as if the story is, a bunch of girls in an isolated house and the director said what would be scary and worked on building the story around that. A lot of creepy atmosphere, jump scares, and tension bringing you to the edge of your seat and covering your eyes is what awaits you as well as the characters in this movie. You are almost wondering when is this all going to fit together with the Annabelle story and when it does is when the movie started to take a turn for me. Not that the movie got bad, but once the evil took a face, and if you saw the first Annabelle then you already know what the evil is, the mystery and suspense became a little less frightening. Up until that point, there were no rules, everything was unknown.
So who the hell was responsible for somehow making such a good movie based on such a bad one? Well believe it or not it was the same writer as the first Annabelle movie Gary Dauberman. But it is not the writing that is this movies’ strong point, actually, it is probably where it is weakened. The first Annabelle movie was atrocious, almost unwatchable. This prequel, while giving a start to the Annabelle doll seems extremely glossed over of its evil origin and has our protagonists doing some things that are quite questionable. Like, oh I don’t know, for instance…SPOILER ALERT…If you knew you had a cursed doll, why the hell would you lock it up in a closet and then put the key in the same room as the closet AND THEN invite little girls over to your house to live? Did you really think everything would be fine? Why wouldn’t you just dry wall over the closest so for sure no one would be tempted to find out what is inside or, I don’t know, lock up the damn doll in a box and bury it? Anything but practically leave it right out in the open. ***END SPOILER RANT*** But the writing isn’t all bad, there are some nice nods to the Conjuring universe thrown in and the movie ends picking up exactly where Annabelle begins. Mr. Dauberman is also responsible for writing the new It movie coming in a few months as well as The Nun, two movies I was looking forward to seeing but will now go into a little more skeptical.
I am giving credit of this film not only to its comparable cast but to its director Swedish born David F. Sandberg. A relative newcomer to feature length films, his only other one being last year’s Lights Out, based upon his short fantastic film of the same name. Lights Out wasn’t a bad little movie at all, especially from a first time director. Of course, you are going to have your pit falls basing a full-length film on a short, but David pulled it off rather well. He really has a sense of building complete dread and works well with the use of light or lack there of shadows. And that is where Annabelle is strongest, with its set up for the scare. His next film is the, who cares, superhero film for DC, Shazam. If he can pull that one off he will definitely be a director to watch.
In the end, Annabelle impressed me, I went in very hesitant because I disliked the first one so much. I have no fear of dolls, and really the Annabelle doll does nothing but look creepy. She doesn’t move, she doesn’t talk yet the sight of her sends chills up people’s spines. This is by no means the next great horror film, but for an audience just looking for some scares and is not looking to over analyze or critique the how and why, Annabelle: Creation delivers. Stop being such a negative bitch and enjoy this movie at the face value it is. Isn’t the whole idea of going to the movies, is to be scared?