Annabelle Creation - This Hello Dolly Movie Rocks Its Conventions
Dir: David F. Sandberg
Starring Annabelle, Anthony LaPaglia Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson
First off, this is a sequel to a spin off from a franchise that is now calling itself a “universe” – you got all that?
Second off, it is content to follow just about every convention of just about every low budget horror movie of the last decade or so. So yes, it will be quiet, then it will be BANG!!! (Many times.) Yes, at some point, someone will get dragged across the floor and disappear into the darkness. (Happens twice here.) Bones will crunch as people transform. Nuns will levitate. People will be thrown violently about. Girls will wear their pyjamas. All present and correct.
But, in the hands of Sandberg, it’s not at all bad. Whilst we have some automatic aversion to the constant need for evil to reveal evil backstory (see also Leatherface coming later this year), and whilst we fully understand that’s just another way of wringing another variation out of a universe and its theme, Sandberg, following up on the promise of Lights Out, undeniably knows how to build and sustain a moment of tension. Or two. Or many, in this case.
The story isn’t much – flashback to several years before The Conjuring, when LaPaglia, a toy maker who starts off like Gepetto but ends up grumpy old man with some seriously fucked up fingers, builds a doll. (It looks like she’s one of 100 so there’s a few options for sequels!) When his own daughter tragically dies, he and his wife (Otto) make a deal to let their daughter’s spirit move into the body of one of those dolls. Only guess what? – it’s not their daughter’s spirit! And things only get worse whne they decide to turn their house into an orphanage for impressionable – and possessible – young girls.
There is literally nothing in Annabelle Creation that we haven’t seen many times before. Admittedly, it’s nice to see the emphasis on terrorising young children rather than the enviable pubescent teens (they’re here too but to the background.) But, if it is a machine designed to build a universe and buy several people behind the scenes some very nice houses, it’s certainly a very effective machine. Despite knowing all it’s turns, you still find yourself engrossed in the waiting for the inevitable jump. And Sandberg clearly knows what he’s doing. Hopefully next time he’ll leave this newly created “universe” behind and find something more original to taunt (haunt?) us with.
Annabelle no doubt – alongside The Conjuring – will return. It is, as they say, something of a curse already.
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