August 17, 2017 Annabelle: Creation (Movie Review)
Pediophobia is described as the “unwarranted, irrational and persistent fear or worry of dolls.” Psychology states that this phobia is due to peoples’ inabilities to “handle fake faces,” but any doll-fearer could probably pinpoint a specific source which initiated what some would consider a rather silly phobia. Maybe grandma’s creepy old antique doll scared the hell out of you when you were little; or perhaps you watched one of the numerous Horror films involving murderous dolls like Chucky when you were a bit too young; or possibly the fear is newly acquired after viewing this frightening film featuring a particularly demonic doll named Annabelle – which surprisingly is based on a very real possessed doll.
Annabelle: Creation is the exciting new Horror/Mystery/Thriller that is the prequel to 2014’s Annabelle – which itself was in fact the prequel to the widely popular 2013 Horror film The Conjuring. It was released in theaters worldwide on August 11th via Warner Bros. Entertainment, where it accumulated a little over $72 million its opening weekend; and with just over $35 million of that coming from the US alone. This vast improvement from the original would have never been possible without the brilliant minds behind its conception and overall execution.
With that being said, this film was wonderfully written by Gary Dauberman, who was also responsible for writing such films as the original 2014 Annabelle, 2008’s Swamp Devil, and the upcoming Horror movie The Nun, which is set to be released in 2018. It was directed by the talented, up-and-coming Director David Sandberg, whose 2016 feature film directorial debut Lights Out was created following the success of his 2013 short from which it was based on and shares a title with. Sandberg worked in conjunction with Atomic Monster and New Line Cinema, along with an incredibly capable cast and crew, to bring this prequel to a prequel to fruition.
The film’s stellar cast, which was mostly comprised of exceedingly gifted young actresses, magnificently played their roles to perfection and effectively projected their every emotion onto each and every viewer transfixed on the screen. These shining stars included Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records 1995, Without a Trace series) as doll maker and head of the household, Samuel Mullins; Samara Lee (Concussion 2015, The Last Witch Hunter 2015) as his daughter, Bee; Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 2003, War of the Worlds 2005) as wife and mother, Esther Mullins; Talitha Bateman (The 5th Wave 2016, Geostorm 2017) as polio-stricken orphan, Janice; as well as Lulu Wilson (Deliver Us From Evil 2014, Ouija: Origin of Evil 2016) as caring and concerned best friend, Linda, Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala 2011, Spectre 2015) as nun and caretaker of the girls, Sister Charlotte.
Furthermore, the cast includes Grace Fulton (The Mystery of Natalie Wood 2004, Badland 2007) as Carol; Philippa Coulthand (The Catch series, Howard’s End mini-series) as Nancy; Tayler Buck (American Crime Story series, Transcend 2016) as Kate; Lou Lou Safran (The Choice 2016) as Tierney; and Joseph Bishara (The Conjuring 2013, Annabelle 2014) as Annabelle’s Demon, among other contributing performances.
Annabelle: Creation tells the dark and twisted tale of how Annabelle actually came to be. After suffering a tragic loss 12 years prior, former doll maker, Samuel Mullins (LaPaglia), and his reclusive and ill wife, Esther (Otto), decide to open up their home infested with doll corpses to six orphaned girls of various ages, and their guardian Sister Charlotte (Sigman).
Being the outcasts of the group and the youngest of the girls, best friends Linda (Wilson) and her Polio-suffering, self-proclaimed sister, Janice (Bateman), begin to experience terrifying and unexplainable events upon the accidental discovery of the sinister Annabelle. As curiosity gets the better of them and they continue to uncover the truth about the devilish doll, they unleash malevolence upon all those living in the Mullins’ home. Souls are on the line if they cannot somehow find a way to expel whomever or whatever has taken up residence in the wickedly evil doll.
In addition to the great characters and promising performances put forth by the cast, this movie also heavily relied on incomparable cinematography coupled with an inspired and emotive film score that instilled an ambiance of apprehension and heightened atmospheric horror and suspense, which resulted in a breakout of goose bumps that lasted the entirety of the movie. Beautiful transitions, deliberate camera movements, and revealing shots emphasized the darkness and isolation that kept viewers forever trying to focus on every inch of obscurity for fear of missing even the most subtle scares or surprises.
Flawless special effects, gnarly gore, perfect pacing, and well-timed scares had viewers screaming, shouting at the screen, jerking and jumping, covering their eyes (but unable to resist peeking), and tightly clutching their hearts to keep them from bursting out of their chests. The movie also had an absolutely engaging plot that effortlessly wrapped around to completely tell the whole story with little room for questions or confusion along the way.
To say that this film was just a step above the original would be a complete and utter understatement, as this chapter of The Conjuring universe is easily one of the scariest and most nightmare-inducing additions yet. Not only does it play on people’s fear of dolls, but it also almost validates others’ fear of the dark, going far beyond just being creepy.
Annabelle: Creation actually fills viewers with a kind of fear that unknowingly lingers in the backs of their minds until their heads hit the pillow and it is time to go to bed. Then, those terrifying thoughts come flooding in and make it nearly impossible to get any sleep without Annabelle making at least one guest appearance in what will eventually become haunting nightmares. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Annabelle: Creation 4.5 out of 5 stars.