Greetings from the Ethereal Plane,
Annabelle: Creation is the newest installment in the Conjuring franchise, which has (so far) been comprised of The Conjuring, Annabelle, and The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergesit. The Conjuring franchise is sure to expand in the near future, as development for a film called The Nun has already been announced, and Annabelle: Creation’s ending sets up nicely for a sequel.
And if you weren’t overly impressed with the first Annabelle movie, hold on, because Annabelle: Creation is a different beast entirely.
Taking place in 1957 in Midwest America, Annabelle: Creation centers around a group of girls that have moved from an orphanage into the home of a mother and father who lost their own daughter, Annabelle, in a terrible accident 12 years prior. Seeking to help the girls and heal the wounds of the past, The Mulligans take the girls in.
Annabelle: Creation succeeds its predecessor in every sense of the word. This film feels more like a Conjuring movie, often mixing respectable jump scares and slow, drawn-out classical fear sequences with relatable characters and easily maintaining the constant feeling of impending dread. Annabelle: Creation maintains a steady state of fear throughout the film, which only deepens as the film moves forward, particularly toward the last ⅓ of the film. If you enjoyed the Conjuring (and Insidious) movies, you will surely enjoy Annabelle: Creation as well.
Overall, Annabelle: Creation contained excellent writing. The film does a great job of connecting us to the main characters, Janice and Linda. Their friendship forms the nucleus of the film, and the pair of actresses is formidable.
The other girls at the orphanage are well-written, apart from Kate, played by Tayler Buck, who was not provided many lines during the film. Sister Charlotte, played by Stephanie Sigman, is believable and takes on the role of a concerned, stern, yet strikingly human character that attempts to shepherd the girls through their settling into their new home, often treading a thin line between the authority of the Mulligans and above that of the orphan girls. Mr. Mulligan carries a great deal of regret, visible in every frame that he’s in, and is careful not to let himself get too close to the orphan girls, less his heart be broken yet again by the loss and memory of his own daughter.
Largely due to her success in the Ouija: Origin of Evil film, actress Lulu Wilson (Linda) is given a significant spotlight in the film. As stated before, her friendship with Janice comprises the nucleus of the film. She doesn’t disappoint, playing a role nearly the polar opposite of her malevolent role in Ouija: Origin of Evil with equal skill and outstanding execution. We are very excited to see what this young actress will do next in the horror genre.
Every time a new Conjuring universe installment is announced, we check to see who is helming the project. If James Wan is the director, we grin in delight at the dark yet masterfully crafted story that we know we can expect. In the cases of Insidious Chapter 3 and the original Annabelle film, in which James only Executive Produced, James’ presence often felt far away, and the proverbial apple also fell far from the tree that is the Conjuring 1 and 2.
In Annabelle: Creation, it feels as if James is standing directly behind you, just daring you to look away. With a mix of classical scares and modern horror, Annabelle: Creation makes it impossible to look away. Director David F. Sanberg pays homage to Wan’s previous works (both The Conjuring and Insidious) in multiple ways, including specific scenes that develop the plot and even character designs. The director of Lights Out, Sanberg truly delivers a film that James would be proud of.
Despite what we can only describe as a “haunted house” moment in the last quarter of the movie, Annabelle: Creation truly brings in the fear through the duration of the film. This is also a testament to the film’s effectiveness; the only moment that pulled us out of this terrifying universe would have been considered the scariest moment in almost any other horror film today.
Annabelle: Creation is beautiful. Shot in a slightly yellow haze during most of the daytime scenes and perfectly lit by soothing moonlight at night time, the film is a pleasure to watch. There is never too much, or too little, light, always illuminating the frame just well enough for viewers to catch the evil images in the background.
Annabelle: Creation is a high-quality addition to the Conjuring franchise. Wan has, over the years, injected new life into the horror genre, and the latest installation in the Conjuring franchise does not disappoint. We only hope that Wan’s universe continues to install films like this one, so that they may keep us afraid of the dark for years to come.
OUR RATING: 4/5 STARS
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