Janice looking up

Review: Annabelle: Creation

Director(s)David F. Sandberg
Principal CastTalitha Bateman as Janice
Lulu Wilson as Linda
Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte
Anthony LaPaglia as Samuel Mullins
Release Date2017
Running Time 110 minutes

I originally wasn’t planning on seeing this movie until I noticed David F. Sandberg was directing. I enjoyed Lights Out , so I was hoping that he could cast some of his magic on the prequel-sequel to the less than satisfying Annabelle. It’s nothing stunning or innovative, but this sequel-prequel is a well-tuned horror movie that does just enough right to be interesting.

The movie opens up on the Mullins family, who after an unexpected tragedy, find themselves hosting a small group of orphans and their accompanying Sister. The group is comprised of 6 girls including Janice, a girl suffering from polio and her best friend Linda. The bond between the two girls serves as the emotional crux of the movie and give it something that a lot of the spin-off Conjuring movies don’t have- heart and a reason to care. When things start going south you feel something because you want the girls to be happy. The relationship is helped by great acting on the part of both child performers. There are some dark things they’re asked to do and those moments feel scary because of how well they’re executed. I can’t wait to see them in more.

Thankfully, the story mainly follows the two girls so for the most part there’s a level of emotional tension. Unfortunately, outside of the two girls there’s not a lot going on character wise. It’s not that the performance are bad or that there’s awful dialogue. It’s just that the other characters don’t have any development. The other orphans kind of get pushed to the wayside with 2 of them almost feeling like afterthoughts. Sister Charlotte feels like she could have something to do or some arc to set up in the grander Conjuring universe but then nothing ever happens. Whenever they’re involved in a scare sequence, it’s hard to feel anything no matter how well executed those moments are. For every great scare, there’s a predictable scare with no impact. You don’t notice it that much on the first watch, but the problem becomes way more apparent on future watches.

This movie also has the problem of disjointed scares. The demonic entities at play do scary stuff but it’s always uneven and begs the question of how any character survives. There’s no consistent power ceiling so whenever something supernatural happens it feels like a gimmick as opposed to some clever haunting or manifestation occurring.

Report Card

TLDRAnnabelle: Creation feels a missed opportunity. The primary story is touching and the scares are well paced, but the overall feeling of the movie is generic. It’s a well shot and executed supernatural jump scare movie but never feels like something fully of its own.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!


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