2017 in Cinema:
Annabelle: Creation, 2017
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
Why are these films going backwards?
Regardless of the answer, this is the prequel The Conjuring deserved, even if it is a prequel to a prequel (Annabelle), but it’s a massive, massive improvement on Annabelle. This film introduces us to the creators of the Annabelle doll, the parents who lost their daughter at a young age (which we see and it’s a horrific scene to witness). That scene immediately set the tone that this film is different (much like The Conjuring did by killing the dog at the start. 12 years later six girls come to stay at their house as it’s being used for an orphanage; and we find out the usual (don’t go in this locked room, stay away from Samuel’s (Anthony LaPalia) room), and we know that all these rules are going to be broken (otherwise is there even a film?) but Annabelle: Creation brings back that which made The Conjuring so popular: a uniqueness despite its lack of real originality.
The six girls from the orphanage all act really well in this film, as do the adults, too, which is a nice change from Annabelle Wallis’ dire performance in Annabelle (I shuddered a bit when I saw her cameo at the end). Janice (Talitha Bateman), especially, puts in a good performance. Janice is the early focal point, as she sets Annabelle free (by entering the room she knows she’s banned from), but what is very effective by this film is about halfway through it switches protagonists; after Janice sets Annabelle free and starts become slightly different, we switch to Linda (Lulu Wilson), and we follow her. By the end with the frantic chase we’re following everyone and this constant change of focus works very well in the film.
The production costs were more than double that of Annabelle and it showed. Brilliant shots of the creature, the house and the damage it was doing, mixed in with the long-ish camera angles and some brilliantly placed camera shots and this genuinely feels like it is part of The Conjuring’s world. Despite us knowing Annabelle lives to fight at least another two battles (I wonder if we’ll see the last leading up to her capture; I can’t imagine they’ll do a prequel’s prequel’s prequel), the ending is a satisfying conclusion with a horrific reveal.
A deserving entrant to The Conjuring’s world (the latest film to have its own world/universe), Annabelle: Creation is chilling, horrific and exciting. It brings a nice set-up to Annabelle’s existence and ends with a way of resolution, even if we do know Annabelle causes a few more issues to other people. A decent horror movie.
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