“Annabelle: Creation” is directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, and Anthony LaPaglia. The film is the prequel to 2014’s “Annabelle” and is about a group of orphans who move into a family’s home, and while everything seems great on the surface, troubles begin to surface after one of the girls discovers a creepy doll hidden away in the house.
To be quite honest, I had very little hopes for this movie coming in. For starters, the previous “Annabelle” film was absolutely terrible and offered almost nothing in the scares aside from one cool scene. The trailers for this movie also really added nothing, as they looked totally generic and gave me no more hope, so aside from my hope in the director, as I liked Sandberg’s “Lights Out” from last year quite a bit, I came in hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
What “Annabelle: Creation” has over its predecessor is scares, as this is an infinitely more terrifying film than the dud from three years ago. In fact, “Creation” is one of the scarier movies I’ve seen in recent memory, as David Sandberg brings more of his directorial flair that he promised last year into this film. Many of the tricks Sandberg nailed down with lighting and slick edits come to life even further in this film, and it makes for agonizing suspense that had me curled up in my seat on numerous occasions.
The acting from pretty much the entire cast is solid, as Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson really shine as the two lead girls. Young actors are always a gamble, but Bateman and Wilson really pay off, as both of them are excellent at bringing the horror to life, while also showing some great chemistry between them. Stephanie Sigman and Anthony LaPaglia are also good, as this movie is able to get strong performances where most horror movies would not.
Another area in which “Annabelle: Creation” improves dramatically over its predecessor is with its use of the doll itself. This doll is an absolute fright fest in the “Conjuring” movies, but in its’ solo film, it basically stood as a placeholder for other scares that were meant to frighten the audience. Here, it is quite the contrary, as Sandberg expertly uses this doll to bring constant terror to every scene. The way this doll is used in the background of scenes, as well as very smart edits to maintain eye contact with the doll is truly scary, and it makes for a consistently tense experience.
As with all horror movies, there are a few characters that often do stupid things at the absolute wrong times. Characters open doors that they shouldn’t, stay and fight when they should just run for the hills, and ignore clear signs of problems instead of instantly calling the police. These are common issues for many films in this genre, and “Creation” is no exception.
This is also a flaw that comes with many horror films, but one that has really plagued the “Conjuring” franchise hard, and that is its use of horror clichés. A disabled girl, orphans, an old isolated house, a soul trapped in a doll, this movie is stuffed to the brim with tropes I have seen millions and millions of times before. While the “Conjuring” movies rely on some of these for effects, this whole movie is old clichés, but still, Sandberg uses these to make something that feels truly scary, so I can’t punish the movie too hard on its overuse on recycled material.
“Annabelle: Creation” is a much better movie than it should be, and I think that is almost entirely due to the director that is at the helm of it. David F. Sandberg uses his abilities with lighting and tension to create a truly scary movie from start to finish. Sure, there are clichés everywhere, and some of the CGI that is used could have been improved, but overall, I was thoroughly satisfied with “Annabelle: Creation,” as it makes this growing horror franchise three for four, with hopefully more from this series to come.
What did you think of “Annabelle: Creation”? Comment below with your thoughts.