Annabelle: Creation – A brilliantly crafted, old-school horror flick, which makes peace with flaws of its sequel.
Movie Review by Annie Cynthia B (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
The movie’s opening scene shows Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) crafting a special doll and then sealing it in a package. Set in 1940s, the Mullins – Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto), Samuel’s wife and his twelve-year-old daughter, Annabelle (Samara Lee) are one happy family until their beloved Bee (Annabelle’s nickname) dies when she suddenly lands herself in front of a truck on the road.
Twelve years following Annabelle’s death, the Mullins open their home for six orphaned girls, accompanied by a young Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman). Among the girls, the plot focuses on polio-afflicted Janice (Talitha Bateman) and Linda (Lulu Wilson) as Janice’s close friend. The Mullins’ countryside home is shown as a large and built in an old-fashioned manner. One can’t help but notice that the front door marked with crosses and there is an impending sense of doom that surrounds it.
In one of the scenes, Janice, while exploring the mansion, stumbles upon a locked room, which she tries to open and is warned against the same by Anthony. Later, Janice is shown to be lured by a note stuck in her bedroom to this locked room. The room, which happens to be Annabelle’s room, also houses the special doll created by Anthony 12 years ago. As expected, all hell breaks loose as Janice enters this room.
Based on real-life paranormal investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the movie is the fourth installment of Producer James Wan’s scare feast – The Conjuring series. Known for films like Dead Silence, Saw series and Insidious franchise, Wan has given sleepless nights to most horror film lovers with his productions. Annabelle: Creation might not be in the same league but it does scare you quite a bit especially when you compare it with its sequel, Annabelle (which was released earlier in 2014).
Director David F Sandberg does a decent job as he has an assured visual style that actually creates a dreary atmosphere and gives you the thrills, while we are still reeling from being fear stabbed by his “Lights out”. But the storytelling does falter here and there
Talitha Bateman effortlessly transforms from an innocent orphan to a darker character and gives out a great performance. Lulu Wilson, exceeds expectation with her brave demeanour, realistic expressions and innocent humour– especially while she holds the toy gun to shoot the demon. The scene got a rousing applause from the audience. Stephanie Sigman is convincing as the pleasant and friendly nun but doesn’t have much to do onscreen. Veteran actors Anthony LaPaglia and Mirando Otto, though faultless in playing their parts, remain grim and look like helpless victims throughout the length of the film.
Gary Dauberman’s screenplay is engaging but fails to create absolutely compelling characters. Maxime Alexandre’s brilliant cinematography helps the cause of Annabelle: Creation as it manages to induce quite a few edge-of-your-seat moments. But one can’t help feeling a sense of deja vu in some scenes as they appear to have been witnessed in popular horror films like The Ring, Dead Silence, Chucky and Goosebumps.
Benjamin Wallfisch’s music adds a new dimension to the film and scares the daylights out of you. He even makes the popular country song – “You are my Sunshine” sound eerie and ominous.
At the end of it all, you will feel the adrenaline rush that comes with watching a horror film but there is a lack of empathy for the characters and the film refuses to stay with you as you step out of the hall.