Annabelle: Creation (2017) Review

Image result for annabelle creation Annabelle: Creation Directed by David F. Sandberg Director David F. Sandberg, best known for the equally low budget but highly profitable hit “Lights Out” takes over for the second in the series of the demonic doll whose cameo in “The Conjuring” has become a full blown phenomenon.

Image result for annabelle creation While thankfully they elected not to rehash the “origin” segment from the first film yet again, the film starts off with a slow burn and a simple premise; a group of female wards, without a home or even shelter, are generously taken in by a couple who’ve lost their daughter (just guess what her name is…) on their remote California spread. It doesn’t take too long though before the orphan girls and their Sister are stalked by the malevolent spirit desperately seeking corporeal form. Image result for annabelle creation Well-worn as the threads adorned upon the namesake doll, “Annabelle: Rebirth” is exactly what you’d expect whether you are a diehard aficiando of the series and its ilk or you absolutely abhor it and anything in a similar vein. Image result for annabelle creation The young performers are all adept overall but feel mismatched and only protagonist Janice (Talitha Bateman) really stands out, polio afflicted gait notwithstanding. Their hosts, played by Australian actors Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto loom about the house equal to the titular spectre but flesh out their roles during the second and third half. Image result for annabelle creation Chilling score from Benjamin Wallfisch (also responsible for “Lights Out” and “A Cure For Wellness” as well as increasing partnerships with maestro Hans Zimmer) and while director Sandberg has been up front about the influence of “The Haunting” on his craft, it is also undeniably clear that “The Shining” played a starring role in composer Wallfisch’s effort. Image result for annabelle creation Like the recently reviewed “Wish Upon” some “Monkey’s Paw” folklore combined with Stephen King’s classic “Pet Semetary” though nowhere near as vivid or imaginative, the namesake’s demise has hints of Gage’s heart wrenching demise and with an expedited speed, it’s jarring. One can feel for the plight of the parents and their torment at the hands of an unclean presence and this could have used additional screen time to really add to the dread and desperation. Image result for annabelle creation Gary Dauberman’s script is competent though not nearly as ambitious as it could be. The major missed opportunity in “Creation” is not developing the mythology further or explaining “the rules” if any that govern the demon inhabiting Annabelle and again, a variety of other objects across the sparse sets. The limited locations and isolated environment evoke a classic sense of foreboding and Sandberg’s mastery of lighting and flashpot theatrics and are a definite high here but can’t make up for the lows of the unachieved potential. Image result for annabelle creation Far more success is found when the spirit embodies other items or interacts with what would regularly be seen as cheap gags such as sheet become terrifying playthings and while it’s all old hat in the end, you can’t help but have fun if you’re willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. This is best seen with one of the creepiest puppet shows ever, like something out Charles Bands worst nightmare without going full Blade and Co. Image result for annabelle creation In a series, hell a burgeoning subgenre not known for gore (nearly impossible when seeking that coveted PG13 rating) “Creation” lives up to its “R” rating like its forebear with the second half (quite literally) in a wonderful gravitation towards the grue we all know and love, though worry not, it’s still riddled with the jump scares are the hallmark of all denizens of the Waniverse. Image result for annabelle creation Speaking of which, there is an unholy guest appearance for the forthcoming “The Nun” and a fun reference to the real “Annabelle” possessed by the Warrens but the tie-ins and taps on your shoulders from forthcoming cinematic entities are not so overblown as to lose their luster. The film also closes full circle in a surprisingly successful fashion, much to the surprise of many of the audience and of course is an open invitation that this property can be mind for sequels with an 1980s level of abandon. Image result for annabelle creation “Annabelle: Creation” deviates enough from the original film to stand on its own but not enough to stand out from its brethren in the burgeoning subgenre of which irrespective of studio is now known as a Blumhouse film. One either usually finds a love or loathe stance with little wriggle room but this entry and series has enough sustenance to be more than simple popcorn flicks or modern carny tricks that have no real teeth. “Annabelle: Creation” is finely crafted horror than given credit for and with a few small repairs could see even greater spirit in its inevitable future entries. Image result for annabelle creation