Director – David F. Sandberg

Last Looks

The latest film in the Conjuring franchise Annabelle: Creation has been released and I am lukewarm about it to say the least. This latest film will chronologically be the first in the series and serve as the fourth overall. James Wan (Saw, Poltergeist, Fast 7) is one of my favorite directors and I respect his style and transcendent storytelling ability. My only concern with his latest Conjuring films is with him not being in the directors chair. After Wan’s initial Saw achieved so much success, unnecessary sequel after another continuously was released getting worse every year. I do believe that Annabelle was a great move taking one of the most popular aspects of the Conjuring and providing it with a spinoff. Not since Chucky have audiences seen such an iconic doll dominate a horror film. Wan is basically doing the same thing as with Saw here only releasing these films out-of-order. With all prequels if you follow the franchise the ending is inevitable so what can make the origin of this creepy doll worth witnessing?

Breakdown

Toy maker Samuel Mullins and his wife Esther grieve after the unexpected death of their seven-year old daughter Annabelle. The couple believes that their daughter is attempting to communicate with them and convinces a spirit to occupy one of his toy dolls. Unfortunately that spirit was not their daughter it was a demon looking to break through a portal. The doll was locked away in a room and covered by pages of the bible to keep the spirit stable. In order to make up for their past misfortunes Sam and Esther open their home up to a nun and six young girls from an orphanage. As the new house guests begin to settle in one of the young girls Janice encounters the doll unleashing all of the fury the spirit beholds.

Nose Candy

“Lets swear if somebody wants one of us they get both of us”

“In this house I feel a different kind of presence”

“That doll was hidden away she musn’t go near that doll again do you understand me”

“We thought we were helping giving the girls a home but we ended up giving it exactly what it wanted”

“You know what they say about breaking a swear. You go straight to hell”

Style Points

  • Record player with timeless music
  • Fast zoom overhead of church
  • One take of the orphanage tour
  • Annabelle showing up in bedroom tent
  • Janice being thrown around house
  • Through the keyhole shot
  • Blur focus on Janice holding the knife
  • Sister Charlotte being  thrown around by spirit

Role Play

Is it wrong to think that the actual doll Annabelle was the best performance of this film? I mean it was charismatic and provided huge reactions without ever changing posture. Not a knock to the casting choices as I think Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson are two great young actresses with bright futures. In films like this I really prefer more of an unknown cast because in my opinion it is difficult to have celebrities play in demonic possessed films that are “based on true stories” because it takes away from the overall believability. Overall good performances throughout in a film that really didn’t focus on dialogue more just creepy camerawork for delivery.

Money Shot

One of the freakish squeamish moments I have ever seen on-screen. Sam is tipped off that the doll Annabelle has been removed from her station. He goes back into his house to witness the doll sitting at the head of his table like a boss. Sam grabs a crucifix and begins to yell scriptures at the spirit. Sam encounters the worst fate having the crucifix melt in his hands with his fingers bending all the backwards. Sam is ultimately killed in this interaction.

Final Touch

I am a huge believer in ghosts, mediums and paranormal behaviors which makes films about demonic possession all the more intriguing to me. Horror films set in older time periods spook me out more such as The Omen, The Exorcist etc. Annabelle: Creation is a throwback with moody music, clever time lapses and wide-angle camera shots to produce scary moments. Outside of it chronologically being first in the franchise there is nothing that really stands out about this effort. This movie felt like a placeholder for the next film eloquently titled The Nun which at this point will be a holdover for the next movie. Unlike the Saw series I don’t believe the films are getting worse as they are actually pretty consistent it is just we are on the fourth one now with no clear direction. This film gains points because of the freaky melting finger crucifix scene since it weirded the shit out of me and I never seen it before but besides that there are just really the knee jerk reaction scares you are accustomed to. Annabelle: Creation was worth making but overall in the Conjuring series, it is really just kind of there keeping the spirit alive.

– Caleb Harris

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