Orphans, demons, and one ugly doll. This week we talk about Annabelle: The Creation!
So, I have to give credit where credit is due. I remember the groans when people heard about the first Annabelle movie.
“Another doll movie? We saw everything we needed to in The Conjuring?”
Obviously that wasn’t true as the first Annabelle movie did big business raking in over $250 million at the worldwide box office. I have to admit, I actually really enjoyed the first movie. It wasn’t everyone’s perfect dream of a doll movie, but I really didn’t have that many complaints. Just in case you do want to here my thoughts on that, I will write another post in the future when I have time to rewatch it.
Now onto the main story. Annabelle Creation. From the start I have to say I am biased as this movie was directed by David F. Sandberg. After watching David’s shorts, hearing his journey from small town foreign filmmaker, to Lights Out, to now Shazam! You can’t discount this guy. He has talent and is making the most out of what I hope to be a long and great career.
Placed in to directing a prequel whose original didn’t have the best critical reception it’s gotta be rough to take the bull by the horns and continue. I mean, Mike Flanagan was in a similar situation with Ouija 2 and knocked it out of the park. But does lightning always strike twice?
Something I’ve heard David F. Sandberg does is try to make a genre film where even if you take out the genre it’s still a compelling movie. Lights out is a perfect example. You can remove all the jump scares and even the supernatural element of the movie and you’re left with a touching story of children trying to help their mother battle depression.
This is one of the strongest points I find in Annabelle Creation. The main point I gathered from this movie was dealing with loss and coming of age.
In the movie we are introduced to a couple, Samuel and Ellen Mullins, who lose their daughter. This was done as a fantastic intro. I could see where some people would find it too long, but I thought it was great to get a good ten minutes of time building up the characters. It would not have felt the same if we were to learn about the family through flashbacks or a quick two minute jump scare opener. Like a fine wine, feelings need to grow on you.
Years later, the Mullins open their home up to a group of orphans. The girls are apart in age ranging from kids to late teenagers. The story centers mainly around the friendship of Janice, a young girl fighting the effects of polio, and Linda. The girls plan to be adopted together in hopes that they can be real sisters. It seems like it is them vs the world as they do not get along as well with the other girls in the home.
It isn’t long after the girls enter the home that “weird stuff” starts to happen. Doors opening, children heard playing, I’m sure that someone would have misplaced the remote if the damn tv worked.
It is here where the movie starts to become a little predictable for the average horror fan. We see the doll (or demon behind the doll) make passes to possess little Janice. Since these are the tense moments of the film. I will quit explaining the story while I’m ahead as this is something you should see.
Except for maybe the CGI. I like to believe in that less is more, and when you show your demon more than once full for everyone to see, it just doesn’t scare me as much. That being said, the original Conjuring I found Bethsheba to be terrifying and still have a hard time looking at her in the movie today.
What holds this movie together for me is the characters. I find most of them enjoyable in some way. Yes, even the bitchy older girls who we are supposed to hate. Having moments to set characters up so the audience knows where they stand make them more relatable.
In conclusion, according to Rotten Tomatoes the film currently has a 68% Critics score and a 75% users score. The positive reviews talk about character development and motivation which is what I agree with makes this movie stronger than the former. More critical peers mention how the story becomes boring over time or that it just relies too much on jump scares.
I feel messy with the reviews as I believe there is a fine line you have to cross to make an impactful horror film. You can call it slow, but without the slow character building moments you have absolutely no reason to care to see if they make it or not in the scary scenes.
I will admit that some of the scare tactics used have been overdone my many Hollywood movies, but then again so does every other film. We’ve been telling stories for thousands of years and we will always keep telling stories similar in arc but different in personality.
The writer and director or both the writer and director are there to tell a story through their eyes and in my opinion, Sandberg’s vision took what could have been an easy cash grab off of the Conjuring Universe and actually did something with it.
The movie has been eating up the box office as well, assisting the Conjuring franchise to pass 1 Billion dollars worldwide.
I know it’s already been out a while, but I would highly recommend giving it a shot.