The newest addition to James Wan’s The Conjuring Universe hit theaters this weekend. Annabelle: Creation, directed by David F. Sandberg, tells the origin story of the infamous haunted doll which has appeared in all the films within this universe.
After doll-makers Sam and Esther Mullins lose their seven year old daughter in a car accident, they take in a group of orphaned girls and the nun who supervises them. Happy to be in a new home and hoping to be adopted, the girls live peacefully until one of them stumbles upon the Annabelle doll. In that moment, everything changes and the house becomes more terrifying than they imagined.
The purpose of the film was to tell the origin story of the doll, portray its power, and deliver a few scares. Sandberg does a great job developing the plot. However, the plot is not perfect. There are few scenes that don’t progress the story, and after the first couple scenes, viewers will be on the edge of their seat until the end of the film. As with all great horror films, suspense builds between each terrifying moment. Although it moves well, some elements of the movie feel as though they exist solely for the jump-scare rather than for the sake of developing the story. Also, some actions the characters take are questionable and feel unnatural. In the end the story has some unnecessary moments, but accomplishes its goals and paces itself well.
As with all horror films, acting prowess can either make or break the film. The performance of the cast was great. The cast’s performances are believable and suck the audience into the movie. As mentioned earlier, some decisions their characters make are questionable, but the actors’ performances keep the audience engaged which makes the decisions slightly more believable.
The visuals are creepy more so than terrifying. They fall short of the visual expectations set in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, but nonetheless, they manage to horrify the audience and get their hearts racing.
Lastly, the sound in this movie is excellent. As with The Conjuring 2, this movie takes a sweet song and makes it feel unsettling. As always, the high pitched noise occurs in the most terrifying moments, scaring audiences as they’re supposed to. In the moments between the terrifying sequences, the only noise comes from the natural sounds within the movie (footsteps, creaking floor boards, etc.). This further builds the suspense and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat.
In conclusion, Annabelle: Creation doesn’t match up to The Conjuring or The Conjuring 2, but by no means is this a bad horror film. It tells its plot naturally and smoothly, but is littered with a few unnecessary jump-scares and questionable character decisions. The cast’s performance is great and gets the audience engaged in the film. While the visuals aren’t reminiscent of the unsettling, creepy feelings previous films in the franchise have produced, they manage to keep the audience shocked while constantly looking for the next scare. Lastly, the sound keeps audiences on the edge of their seats the entirety of the film. This movie fits well into its universe. It leads directly into Annabelle and even nods to The Conjuring 2. Fans of James Wan’s franchise and horror movies should definitely see this film.