Reviewed byrgkarimVote: 8/10/10
So many years ago, the Conjuring dropped into theaters and opened up amovie universe that would bestow nightmares to the audience members whosaw it. This weekend, the latest installment in this haunted world withAnnabelle Creation. A prequel to the last film, this possessed dollcontinues to be a popular figure head in the occult series to warrantanother film. Is this film a fitting addition to the franchise, or isit another money grabber fit to be lost in the horror archives? RobbieK here to help answer those questions and share some thoughts. Let'sget to work.
Answers Questions: The first Annabelle gave the doll some basis andestablished her deadly legacy, but it lacked any true backstory of hercreation. The prequel, as so titled, helped fill in the creation storyand establish the origin to its possession. As the film progresses,more of the Annabelle's journey is revealed, alongside a closer look atthe creature that uses it as a puppet. While not fully complete, we nowhave the connections needed to make sense of the first movie, andfurther engross us in the universe. Unfortunately, the name, theinvolvement, and other details of the demons still remain unanswered,but can be extrapolated with a dialogue hints.
The Pace: Horror movies can have pacing issues at time depending on thestory. Fortunately, Annabelle Creation's moves at a decent pace tomaximize the movie. Slow enough to provide build up for the scares, butfast enough to keep everything moving and on edge, the production teamdid a nice job keeping you invested in the movie. There is little timebetween all the craziness, with just enough comedic relief to relievethe tension and keep things interesting.
Scares: I guess we need to talk about the main element you go for thesemovies huh? The scare factor is at an all-time high in this movie,continuing the Conjuring's legacy of keeping things dynamic, fun, andsuspenseful. Annabelle's creepy on so many levels, starting with therealistic setting to place the movie in. That realism and the use ofshadows has your imagination on fire trying to fill in the gaps of whatlurks in the dark. Once the subtle components are set, you can betthere a number of creepy tricks played in this film, alongside thefleeting glimpses of the demon that terrorizes the family in his cruelgame. And of course, there is that doll. It's soulless stare anddeceiving smile continue to give me the willies, and had a number ofaudience members using colorful language before involuntary rising fromtheir seats.
Character stories: The movie had a lot of characters to play in ourhaunted setting. The protagonists of the film held a lot of potentialto develop as characters, and unfortunately, they failed on that level.Sure, you can piece together the simple origins placed before you, butI would have liked more insight into the girls' origins or perhaps alittle more integration of Bee into the writing to help maximizescares. With the conjuring able to unearth their demons and dreams in aquality manner, Annabelle should be able to mimic that magic. Scares donot equal perfect horror movie.
Pointless characters: Remember the big family in the Conjuring and howeach sibling, parent, and exorcist were part of the tale in some way.That's gone too. Annabelle Conjuring brought a large group into thehome, but only about four-five of them have any real involvement in theplot. The underutilization of these characters tripped up the plot,made for ridiculous scenes that didn't have as much importance, andreally left me asking, what was their point. One girl has just one lineand a few stares at the camera. Why include them if you aren't going touse them to develop the characters, or at least try to work together toescape the demon's wrath.
Predictability: Scares are getting easier to predict in this day andage. This is mostly due to the development team throwing their usualtactics into the mix to warn you of the impending jump scare. AnnabelleConjuring doesn't escape this trend and much of the scares can be seena mile away in some form or manner. While there are a few moments thatwere good tries, the tactics got repetitive and/or cheesy to belaughable rather than fearful. Fortunately, some creepy special effectsand the darkness offset this enough to still get under your skin thanks religion nightmare inducing series.
Overall, Annabelle Creation is one of the better horror movies of thesummer and perhaps this year. It is dark, creepy, and moves at thatpace needed to keep you invested in the movie for the two-hour runtime. In addition, the filling in gaps and hints start to connect theworld (a very popular trend), which will have you die hard horror fansscreaming in delight at both scares and plot. Yet, there are stillelements of the story telling to clean up and utilizing your charactersyou bring in is a big step to improve on. In addition, I hope the nextinstallment forgoes the predictable moves and gives us that kick Ihaven't seen yet. Considering everything, this reviewer recommends avisit to the theater for this one, assuming you are disturbed byspiritual haunting movies.
My scores: Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 8.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
P.S. Stay for the end of the credits for some teasing.
12 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, where they soon become the target of the dollmaker's possessed creation, Annabelle.