Saturday, August 12, 2017

Movie Review: "Annabelle: Creation" (2017)

Director: David F. Sandberg
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Over a decade after the death of their daughter, a doll maker and his wife invite a group of orphans to live in their home. What the new guests don't know is there is an evil presence in the house that has attached itself to one of the dolls. 

"Annabelle: Creation" is a prequel to the movie "Annabelle," which was a prequel to the movie "The Conjuring." This installment is directed by David F. Sandberg, who made last year's "Lights Out." It is written by Gary Dauberman, who also wrote the previous installment in the series. It stars Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto as doll maker Samuel Mullins and his wife Esther. Joining them are Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Grace Fulton, Philipa Coulthard, Tayler Buck, and Lou Lou Safran, who play Sister Stephanie and her orphans. This group has come to live with the Mullins family, who, many years earlier, lost their daughter Bee, played by Samara Lee, in a tragic accident. Ever since her death, an evil presence has been existing in their house.

It's no secret we were not looking forward to this movie considering we strongly disliked the original "Annabelle." "Annabelle" and "Annabelle: Creation" are both written by the same person, so we thought we may be in for more of the same in this prequel to a prequel to what has now become a universe. What a difference a director makes!

David F. Sandberg has done for "Annabelle: Creation" what Mike Flanagan did for "Ouija: Origin of Evil." He has taken a previously awful property and turned it into something pretty damn good. Where the original "Annabelle" relied far more heavily on cliched, cheap jump scares, this prequel focuses more on setting a tension-filled mood complete with creepy sounds and eerie visuals. Sandberg still uses his fair share of jump in your seat, loud boo! moments, but he combines them with a fantastic setting, an unsettling soundtrack, and tons of spooky imagery, all of which will certainly have an effect on the audience.

We found ourselves unnerved by this film and actually got invested in the atmosphere of it all. The characters are built up well enough so we care if (when) they are in danger. Both Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson do a great job building their connection with one another, and the audience is allowed to cherish their friendship and root for them when peril strikes. The film also has a few Easter eggs that expand on the overall "Conjuring" universe for those who have followed the films up to this point. For those who haven't, "Annabelle: Creation" is honestly a good starting point. It's still worth watching since it isn't totally necessary for you to have all of the previous installments to fully understand this entry. It stands on its own as a strong, atmospheric horror film with lots of creeps and tons of awesome sound, production, and costume design. We had our doubts and are pleasantly surprised this movie didn't suck like its predecessor.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~68%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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