Director David F. Sandberg
Cast Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman & Lulu Wilson
It’s quite incredible that we are now talking about not just a hugely successful series of horror movies, but a Conjuring Universe. The movie that scared millions of moviegoers has spawned its own sequel as well as spinoffs Annabelle, The Nun, the recently announced Crooked Man and now Annabelle: Creation.
I don’t think many would argue that Annabelle, barring the scene in the basement and stairway, failed to deliver on both brown trouser moments and quality. It was still successful at the box office with a worldwide gross of $84 million from an $8.5 million budget, so a second movie was guaranteed to follow. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really warm to the idea especially when it was announced it would be a prequel to a prequel; it never pays to show how the monster came to be, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong, because Annabelle: Creation is really rather good.
Director David F. Sandberg’s debut feature Lights Out, was an effective horror that successfully created creepy scares using shadows and light. The Annabelle sequel also benefits from its malevolent force being kept largely in the dark, eyes glistening.
The story sees a group of orphans and a nun Sister Charlotte (Sigman), living with Samuel and Esther Mullins (LaPaglia & Otto), whose own daughter Annabelle died tragically years before. Esther is bedbound after an accident herself, so it’s dollmaker Samuel (an under used LaPaglia) who runs the home. Welcoming the girls, including the main character Janice, he explains that a room upstairs is always locked…Then after 12 quiet years, things start to go bump in the night – gulp!
Janice wears a heavy leg brace after contracting Polio as a younger child, and it is she who becomes the focus of the insidious entity that lurks in the darkness. Of course, this is only made possible by the usual bad choices only horror film characters make; don’t go in there, don’t unlock that door. Ah, you’ve done it and now we’re doomed, doomed I tell ya! Still, it’d be a short film if that didn't happen.
The kids are alright here, with good performances all round, but the real star is Annabelle the doll and the demonic presence that possesses her. We never see her move in any of the movies; however she still has the power on looks alone to creep you out. As our demon slowly manifests itself throughout the films 109 minute run time, it inevitably leads to us seeing the creature in its full form in a somewhat overblown finale - this however, does not detract from the film as a whole.
What Annabelle: Creation does very well indeed, is link the other movies in the Conjuring Universe together. A picture here, a musical hint there and the ending in particular, cleverly leads us to the start of the first Annabelle film. On the subject of endings, please make sure you stay until the very end for a spooky post credits teaser.
The Verdict 4 spare pants used out of 5.
A rare thing then especially in the world of horror, a sequel that surpasses the original. See it, just not alone!