The creepy Annabelle doll made its first appearance onscreen in The Conjuring - where her case was presented as more of a side story rather than the main plot. It was a year later when a prequel came out which put the doll front and center.
decent, 2014's Annabelle was not able
to live up to the success of The
Conjuring. Part of its failure can be attributed to cheap scares and the failure to utilize the creepy villain's full potential.
Now here comes Annabelle: Creation, a prequel to the prequel which explores the origin of the possessed doll. In the hands of David F. Sandberg (whose past works include the likes of Lights Out), this movie fares significantly better than the original.
It starts off in 1943 with the Mullins family. Doll maker Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) experience a tragedy when their daughter Annabelle (Samara Lee) meets her end in a car accident. Twelve years later, the Mullins offer their home as a shelter for Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and six orphan girls after their previous orphanage was shut down.
The girls and the nun take center stage, casting Mr. and Mrs. Mullins to the sidelines. After the prologue, the Mullins, unfortunately, appear mostly in minor scenes until they are used as plot devices to pick up the movie's pace.ÃÂÃÂ
(Talitha Bateman) and Linda (Lulu Wilson) are the youngest girls of the bunch
and are the film's central focus. The two share a strong bond that resonates throughout the film, even when shit goes down.
Talitha Bateman's performance in particular deserves special mention - it provides a certain authenticity to every scene that is required of her. Her care for Linda is genuine. Her fear is apparent. Her helplessness is heartbreaking. Her character falls victim to most of the movie's supernatural incidents. The fact that she is crippled and can only walk with a crutch and leg brace adds more weight to horrors she faces.
house flicks employ the usual scares: doors mysteriously opening, lights
turning on and off, whispers being heard in the other room, and so on. While the film has most of these tactics, it also had new tricks up its sleeve.
Here are some examples: since Janice is a cripple, she requires the house's stairlift to get to the second floor. This moves at a sluggish pace which leaves her vulnerable. Likewise, Sister Charlotte's bedroom has a dumb waiter which leads to a dark and unknown level. Both of these were opportunities for a unique scares which the film utilized.
The scares are quiet and unexpected, but the merit goes to how they are set up. Camera angles suggest a ghost/demon will come from a particular spot in the background, but it jumps out from a totally different area instead. David Sandberg's scene compositions catch the audience off-guard, and that's where Annabelle: Creation truly shines.Although the writing seems a bit rushed towards the end, the plot does tie in to the events of the original Annabelle film. It's as if the movie reached its crescendo a bit too early and was pressured to form the necessary connection to a larger universe. Nevertheless, Annabelle: Creation is a respectable horror film and a great redeemer of the Annabelle mythos the original movie botched.