Edition: United States  
One News Page
“Probably the fastest-access news portal in the world”
> >

‘Annabelle: Creation’ Review: Horror’s Bad Doll Gets a Sinister-Stuffed Origin Story

The Wrap Thursday, 10 August 2017 ()
‘Annabelle: Creation’ Review: Horror’s Bad Doll Gets a Sinister-Stuffed Origin StoryWhile one horror franchise falters (sorry, Dark Universe), another burnishes its rep in “Annabelle: Creation,” the enjoyable prequel/shriek-quel to the doll movie (“Annabelle”) that was spun from James Wan’s smash “The Conjuring” films.

What’s new? Not much as possession sagas go, but as a technical exercise, it’s creepcraft of a high order (certainly more so than “Annabelle”), in which one eerie doll, a few ominous closed doors, and a houseful of nosy victims and dark rooms do much to keep the thrill of the rejuvenated haunted-abode genre alive. The jaded may not join their more receptive moviegoers in arm grabbing, screaming, and loudly warning characters not to go in there, but they’re still likely to smile at the elegant skill on display.

It certainly cements its director, Swedish export David F. Sandberg — serving up his sophomore feature after last year’s hit scare flick “Lights Out” — as another welcome classicist when it comes to atmosphere, tension and judicious shocks. Like the patient simmer Wan can create before unleashing a spine-tingling image, Sandberg likes the low boil of orientation and build-up — the chance to appreciate a negative space in which nothing jumps out — before tickling your apprehension with sinister proof.

*Watch Video:* 'Annabelle: Creation' Trailer Tells Doll's Origin Story

It might be a pair of faintly glowing eyes or a flicker of fuzzy movement in the background, or just another shot of that damned doll doing zilch but sitting there with its filmy skin, glampunk eyes, and crumpled dress. But it works like the hit of hot fat from a freshly made French fry. That you never see Annabelle move on its own — though you keep staring at it, waiting for it to do so — is one of this series’ cleverest and enduring gimmicks.

You’d think whoever built such a determinedly freaky-looking companion would have gone nowhere in the world of children’s playthings, and yet its creator, dollmaker Sam Mullin (Anthony LaPaglia), is clearly a successful artisan. He’s got a barn full of orders, a loving wife (Miranda Otto), and a doting seven-year-old daughter who leaves notes when she wants to play hide-and-seek with dad in their grand two-story farmhouse that sits all by itself in an empty, hilly expanse of golden fields. It’s also a chance for horror aficionados to start their accounting: scraps of paper with childlike scrawls (check), rural remoteness (check), barn (check), peekaboo games (check).

*Also Read:* David F. Sandberg in Talks to Direct 'Shazam' For New Line (Exclusive)

The sunny prologue ends with tragedy, though, and 12 years later the long-childless Mullin residence is to be the new home for a group of orphan girls and young nun Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman, “Spectre”). Sam still gruffly wanders about the place as de facto host, but Esther Mullin is a bedridden recluse, her face partly covered with a mask, and there’s one upstairs room the six girls (ages grade-school to adolescent) are warned to leave alone.

For young, polio-stricken Janice (a captivatingly sympathetic Talitha Bateman, “Nine Lives”), recipient of a mysterious “find me” note one night, the forbidden bedroom is a mystery worth exploring away from the others, including same-age bestie Linda (Lulu Wilson, “Ouija: Origin of Evil”). Inside are the remnants of a little girl’s life, including a locked closet door inside which Janice discovers the titular doll.

As Annabelle begins to make Janice her demonic target, which the screenplay by Gary Dauberman (“Annabelle,” the upcoming “It”) methodically unpacks, “Annabelle: Creation” starts flexing its is-something-there-oh-yes-there-is muscles. As impresario of the series, Wan could trademark his formula for unnerving — for starters, weather-beaten old house, meet gnarled tree nearby — but that doesn’t make these tropes any less appealing.

*Also Read:* 'Conjuring 2' Spinoff on 'Crooked Man' Character in Development at New Line

Sandberg’s stewardship is commendably precise, too, working effectively in concert with cinematographer Maxime Alexandre and key “Lights Out” creatives — including production designer Jennifer Spence (who also worked on the “Insidious” movies) and editor Michel Aller — to leave as few dead spots as possible as things get hairier. (And like his first feature, diminishing light sources are potently deployed for white-knuckle results.)

Elsewhere, like the proverbial gun in the first act that must be used in the second, the early introduction of a dumbwaiter and a mechanized stair lift turn into nifty suspense settings later. There’s even a satisfying tie-in to the events that kickoff the last movie (which happen years after the “Creation” storyline).

As always, there’s an explanation for the evil goings-on, left for Otto to reveal from behind those diaphanous bed curtains, and eventually a turn toward R-rated ickiness, although thankfully more fleeting than flaunted. Also superficial but never really thematically explored are the hints of “The Exorcist” meets “Picnic at Hanging Rock” that arise. But these amount to quibbles when the nuts-and-bolts spookiness is this well sustained, and the gentle shake of a bunk bed (what just climbed in below?) is more unsettling than a demon in view.

At heart “Annabelle: Creation” is a professional jitters-fest, made with deep-seated esteem for the genre rather than cynicism about a box-office sure thing.

*Related stories from TheWrap:*

Demian Bichir Joins Cast of 'Conjuring' Spinoff 'The Nun'

Corin Hardy to Direct 'Conjuring' Spinoff 'The Nun'

Helen Hunt to Star in Indie Horror Thriller 'I See You'

'It Comes At Night,' and 8 Other Indie Horror Films to Watch (Photos)
Share on
Share on
Post on 
Share by
Source: Zoom.in STUDIO - < > Embed

News video: Annabelle: Creation director on the making of the doll

Annabelle: Creation director on the making of the doll 00:42

David Sandberg reveals how they got the doll to look so creepy in Annabelle: Creation.

You Might Like

Recent related news

'Annabelle: Creation' Tops Box Office During Opening Weekend!

The weekend box office numbers are in and it looks like horror film Annabelle: Creation took the top spot after earning $35 million in its opening weekend! The...
Just Jared - EntertainmentAlso reported by •USATODAY.comDenver PostbizjournalsZee NewsFilmy Friday

Box office top 20: ‘Annabelle’ scores in a slow August

NEW YORK (AP) — The box-office downturn is getting scary, but that didn’t stop the horror sequel “Annabelle: Creation” from debuting with $35 million in...
Seattle Times - Front Page

Other recent news in US

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Welcome to 'Eclipseville', KentuckyCelebrities Pay Tribute to Comedy Legend JERRY LEWIS
Keeping Your Pets Safe During Monday’s TOTAL SOLAR EclipseComedian, Civil RIGHTS ACTIVIST Dick Gregory Dies
Lost WWII warship USS INDIANAPOLIS found after 72 yearsNo POWERBALL winner; jackpot swells to $650M
President Trump to address nation on path forward in AFGHANISTAN8/20 CBS2 SUNDAY MORNING Weather Headlines
Dozens Of NYPD Officers, Including Frank Serpico, Rally For COLIN KAEPERNICKWhat's left of TROPICAL STORM HARVEY more likely to organize



John's Horror Corner RT @thatfilmstew: Read our #AnnabelleCreation review... https://t.co/0743ppYhYZ #TheConjuring #Annabelle #Horror #Film #PodernFamily #RT @a… 17 minutes ago


Jersey Comic Krew RT @thatfilmstew: Read our #AnnabelleCreation review... https://t.co/0743ppYhYZ #TheConjuring #Annabelle #Horror #Film #PodernFamily #RT @a… 50 minutes ago


Nerds With Words RT @PodTyrant: DONT GET SP-P-P-OOKED! Stuff for Movie Buffs Ep. 77 — #AnnabelleCreation & State of Horror Movies! https://t.co/zmu4ynZXKg… 1 hour ago


The Movie Buff New Review "Annabelle: Creation" https://t.co/2l1eygtx2U #Annabelle #annabellecreation #horror #movies @TTBate… https://t.co/4ABPJQUNyr 2 hours ago


PodTyrant DONT GET SP-P-P-OOKED! Stuff for Movie Buffs Ep. 77 — #AnnabelleCreation & State of Horror Movies!… https://t.co/OTE7M4jYXZ 2 hours ago


Tejas Chogale RT @bookmyshow: #Annabelle just got an upgrade. Check out our review of the film. #AnnabelleCreation | @wbpictures | @annabellemovie https:… 3 hours ago

Environmentally friendly: One News Page is hosted on servers powered solely by renewable energy
© 2017 One News Page Ltd. All Rights Reserved.  |  About us  |  Disclaimer  |  Press Room  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Content Accreditation
 RSS  |  News for my Website  |  Free news search widget  |  Help  |  Contact us  |  DMCA / Content Removal
How are we doing? Send us your feedback  |   LIKE us on Facebook   FOLLOW us on Twitter   FIND us on Google+