Movie Review: "Annabelle: Creation"
When Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto) lose their daughter Annabelle (Samara Lee) to a tragic car accident, they fall into an equally tragic depression. In that depression, they pray to be able to communicate with their daughter again. When they start making contact with Annabelle, they give her spirit permission to enter Annabelle's favorite doll. However, they quickly realize that the entity they allowed into their home is not their daughter, but is instead, an extremely evil entity, so they lock the doll away in a closet within the house.
Twelve years later, the Mullins decide to take in a group of orphans with the hopes that it will serve as their penance. Little do they realize, bringing a group of curious young girls into the house is all that the evil entity needed to break free from its closet-prison. Due to the curiosity of some of the girls, Annabelle has been freed. The Mullins have locked her away for a long time, but her malicious nature has not subsided. Now she is ready to unleash that nature upon the Mullins home once again.
The Pros & Cons
The Scares (+8pts)
The Mullins (-3pts)
The Actors (+6pts)
Child Possession (-2pts)
Dumb Decisions (-5pts)
Pro: The Scares (+8pts)
One thing that many horror films in recent history have failed to do is give real scares. Too many filmmakers deliver jump "scare" after jump "scare", which really just startles the audience members, and is more annoying than anything else. A good horror film delivers a horror and suspense that allows the audience sit with their own fear, imagination, and anticipation. In that respect, Annabelle: Creation was a good horror film.
In this movie, the audience was treated with so many great moments where the filmmakers let them sit in the fear of what would or could happen. I do not want to give out too many examples because I do not want to spoil the movie, but the trailer shows a scene where Janice is sitting in a stair lift while being hunted by the evil entity. This was a great scene that was a fantastic example of getting a real scare as opposed to a jump scare. The audience knew the entity was after her, but there was no way Janice was getting out of that situation quickly. She stairs ascending the stairs in the lift, but the thing moved incredibly slowly, and even started coming back down! This was a great example of the type of horror that was in this movie, and I do not think fans of true horror will be disappointed in it.
Con: The Mullins (-3pts)
At the beginning of this movie, audiences will sympathize with these characters. As the movie goes on, audiences will start to think their behavior is selfish and stupid. The Mullins lost their daughter Annabelle at the beginning of the movie, and in their depression, they prayed to be able to speak to their daughter. They then had a malicious entity possessing a doll, which they managed to lock away in a closet within the house. The closet seemed to contain her, but would only continue doing so as long as the closet remained unopened.
That was the part that audiences will sympathize with. Then the Mullins began acting like idiots. Twelve years after the death of Annabelle, the Mullins decided to take in a group of orphans. In other words, the Mullins decided it was a good idea to bring a group of young girls to live with them in the house. Oh, and one of the rooms used as a bedroom for the girls shared a wall with the very closet that the possessed doll was trapped within. The Mullins basically invited a group of children into their home, but some never fathomed the possibility that a single child could have been curious enough to investigate the closet. The entire plot hinged on the wreckless stupidity of the Mullins, and I thought it was a bit too far-fetched.
Pro: The Actors (+6pts)
The actors in this movie were a huge part of why the horror worked so well. When you have horror that lets you sit in the fear, you need actors that can pull off the intense moments. The actors in this movie (particularly the two main girls) did just that. Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman played the two young girls and they were impressive, as they were able to maintain my interest through long periods of suspenseful horror. As good as the movie was, if these two girls did not pull off these roles, the movie would not have worked. The rest of the cast did a fine job, but Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman delivered the strong, effective performances that were essential to this movie’s horror.
Con: Child Possession (-2pts)
While I enjoyed this movie, and thought it was a decent horror film, I think that the concept of child possession is getting extremely over-played in horror movies. I get it. The concept is creepy, but when nearly every high-profile horror movie uses it, the concept ends up feeling exhausted. While the movie was not bad, the whole child possession thing has become a generic and unoriginal horror movie trope, that this movie would have been better off without. Luckily, the movie was decent enough to overcome this issue, but I thought this movie could have been a lot better if the filmmakers went in a different (more original) direction with this story.
Pro: Annabelle (+2pts)
One thing that many people may be uncertain about before seeing this movie is Annabelle's origin. While some people may try to forget it, Annabelle already got an origin story with 2014's Annabelle. That movie told the story of a murderous, young adult woman who was killed, but ended up possessing a doll. This movie told Annabelle's origin once again, but it was a drastically different origin. The concern is that the studio just told this story, and now it seemed like they wanted us to forget the last one, but it was not very long ago.
I will not give any spoilers here, but everyone who saw Annabelle thought they got the full origin. Turns out there was much more to this story. This movie was the studio's second attempt at making a decent horror movie about Annabelle's origin, but they did so by elaborating on the last movie, rather than trying to overwrite it. In that respect, I thought they succeeded. This movie will not make anyone a fan of the last one, but I think it will win people over that the last movie could not. This story made sense, and was able to tie into the last story, while delivering the horror that the last movie could not. Before seeing this movie, I was worried that the filmmakers would just lazily try to ignore the last movie, but I thought they did a decent job of tying the two movies together in a way that made sense.
Con: Dumb Decisions (-5pts)
My major issue with this movie was that the entire plot relied on characters making terrible decisions over and over again. You will be watching this film and wondering why on earth these characters were making these decisions. If it were just the kids making these decisions, I would be annoyed, but would understand the logic of it. However, the adults were making terrible decisions left and right, that was where the writing started to feel lazy. A great horror story comes from the audience being able to put themselves in the character's shoes. If a film's plot hinges on the stupidity of its characters, it can take the audience out of the movie, and that was what kept happening here.
Grade: B- (81pts)
Annabelle: Creation was a decent horror movie with some great young actors and some great scares. The scares in this movie were intense and suspenseful, and they allowed the audience to sit in the fear and anticipation. The two young actresses (Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman) gave great performances that preserved the audience's interest during both the intense moments and the slower ones. This movie also did a great job of connecting this film with the 2014's Annabelle in a way that made sense, rather than a lazy overwrite.
This movie's issues stemmed from its plot relying too heavily on all of the character's poor decision making. It seemed every bad thing that happened was a direct result of someone doing something incredibly dumb. The filmmakers also used child possession as a major plot point. Child possession is creepy, but has also been an incredibly overused concept, so it did not have the impact in this movie that I think the filmmakers wanted it to have. The movie had some problems, but it was a decent horror movie.