ANNABELLE: CREATION (REVIEW)
Dir. David F. Sandberg
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Film universes are taking over the Cineplex and there was one forming well before the ill fate of THE MUMMY and Universal’s Dark Universe. That is the one that started with James Wan’s terrifying THE CONJURING. The first branch outside of the core CONJURING series are the ANNABELLE prequels and after a mixed response to the first movie, here comes a second attempt to replicate the fear that Wan’s films manage to produce for audiences across the globe.
After the tragic death of their daughter, Annabelle, the Mullins take in a refuge of orphaned girls in the hope of moving on. As the girls make home in the household, the history of the family begins to surface and the dollmakers prized creation begins to take a life of its own.
Much like ANNABELLE, CREATION is less about the doll as a crazed murdering entity and more of a conduit of evil. In short that means you won’t see the doll plaguing the guests with death but rather host something much more evil. Those expecting ANNABELLE CREATION to right the wrongs of ANNABELLE need walk away now but for those willing to stick around will find enough to keep them hiding behind a cushion.
From the outset, CREATION builds on a great cast including Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson who play the softest of the orphaned girls and are the central purpose for the demonic beings presence. Their balance of innocence and intense character development is great to watch and add layers to an otherwise by the numbers horror movie.
While David F. Sandberg brings off the back of LIGHT’S OUT a fresh breath of fresh air to horror. Originality and enough to scare long after the film had finished, LIGHT’S OUT was a pinnacle point of 2016. That same can’t be said for ANNABELLE that is not afraid to bring the scares but fails to hold much longevity after the credits close. At its best, ANNABELLE CREATION as perfect sequel fodder, taking the icon of the series and adding more to add to that legacy and like some of the more famous franchises, as the series grow older, the quality and purpose decrease. This is now the Annabelle doll’s third appearance and while the doll now has an origin, there’s very little more the doll can deliver.
Being not a character but a conduit item means the action and terror happens around her not through her. She’s nothing more than a macguffin and when you realise that, the concept of the doll becomes far less terrifying. Refreshingly, this was part of the criticism of ANNABELLE so it’s interesting that the guys behind the franchise have stood their ground. If you liked ANNABELLE, then you’ll love ANNABELLE CREATION bringing more of what you love with the series with even more scares. If you didn’t then there’s very little that will change your mind.