Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Stars: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson
Review by Gilbert Seah
The ANNABELLE, CONJURING prequels, sequels are already so many that it is difficult to keep track what is going on. The truth is, it does not real matter. ANNABELLE CREATION is advertised as the prequel to ANNABELLE which is connected to the four CONJURING films. ANNABELLE CREATION can stand on its own, that is all that matters. The connecting object in all the film is the possessed white Annabelle doll.
The film suffers from a weak narrative. The simple story involves a couple losing their daughter in an accident. They allow orphans to make use of their big home but the spirit of their dead daughter who possesses a doll is not happy with the orphans. On the plus side, the scary set-ups are meticulously crafted, which should provide horror fans lots of jump out of the seat scares. But it does matter that the film is less the sum of its whole, as it does not hold well together at all. It also suffers from a proper ending with the doll appearing halfway through the closing credits for no real reason. One member of the audiences remarked that she expected the doll to at least blink. Still, all these bad continuity segments do not add up cohesively. One moment one member of the orphans is chased by the killer doll, the next has the film intercutting to another in trouble. Why the demon does not kill off the parents earlier on before the arrival of the orphans is also a point to question. And when the demon finally gets the soul of the crippled Janice, why doesn’t the demon stay satisfied. Of course, logic is never a strong point in horror films as in this one.
The film assembles a series of shock effects, false alarms and real ones. False alarms include for example, the father, Samuel Mullins suddenly scaring his daughter or the sudden appearance of a character and a real scare being the running over of a child by a car. The other scary effects like the moving doll, the repeated playing of the song: “You are my Sunshine” et al. are all old stuff already done in other horror films. But director Sandberg seems to have picked the best of these from past movies and included them here. But one horror set-up after another still gets monotonous after a while.
The orphans are played by a cast of relative unknowns cutting production costs for the film. However, Samuel Mullins and wife Esther are played by well-known Australian actors Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto.
The first ANNABELLE film cost $6.5 million to make and grossed Warner Brothers close to $256 million. This sequel cost double to make at around $15 million, but should make the studio a handsome bundle, aided by the fact that the only main big opening this weekend is the animated NUT JOB sequel.
People love to be scared. People love to pay big bucks to be scared. Films like ANNABELLE CREATION will always do well at the box-office despite reviews good or bad, so go figure!
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