David F. Sandberg, the one responsible for the movie Lights Out, directs the sequel/prequel to the hit movie Annabelle with Annabelle: Creation. Sandberg did a wonderful job with Lights Out with very unique tactics and scares differ from the typical jump scares you see in most movies. To be able to scare veteran horror movie watchers is a skill and with this latest film, this is proof that Sandberg has what it takes.
Annabelle: Creation is a successful follow-up with a direct plot, superb cast, and affective scares. Which means that whether you get easily scared in horror movies or not, you will still be entertaining immensely throughout the picture. Especially to those who are familiar with the character from the previous appearance in the franchise.
The film is about a couple, The Mullins, who lost their daughter to a terrible accident. Fast Forward 12 yrs. later and to bring more life into their home they open up their house to an orphanage of girls accompanied by their guardian Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) to live with them. One girl from the group in particular, Janice uncovers a dark secret within the home of the Mullins that will put her and the rest of the house in danger from a sinister evil that has been dormant for way too long.
The frightening scenes were done with enough smarts that it felt like you were that little kid wondering what goes bump in the night in your closet or under your bed.
This movie is basically driven by an almost female cast with one or two males in the movie. Janice, the one who is haunted by the new terror in the house is played by Tabitha Bateman. She is a delightful actress to watch throughout the whole film. Her acting was very mature and matched with her character you feel for her right away and wish no harm to her at all. Already feeling different and isolated from the group while waiting for someone to take a chance on her and adopt her is already sad in itself. She immediately becomes someone you want to see overcome all of her challenges with flying colors so that in itself will give you a sense of wanting to protect her from any harm. Sigman’s Sister Charlotte character is a delight to watch also. She brings a bit of humor and of course Mama Bear quality to the role as she definitely wants what is best for the children and looks to her faith in God for the strength to be able to be there for the girls in her care. You also care for her too and want to know more about her character. You receive just enough information in regards to her background to not take away the spotlight from the story and the other characters. There is also Miranda Otto who plays Esther Mullins, wife of Sam Mullins who created the Annabelle doll. I wish that she received more screen time in the film because she is a wonderful actress. She was changed the most between the couple after losing her daughter mentally and physically. She is a mystery throughout the film as they don’t show much in regards to her development but her presence is there and you wonder what she is all about making the film even more interesting and intriguing to pay attention.
The scares and edge of your seat suspense provided in this latest horror is pretty good. It has been a while since I have been scared in a movie where I wasn’t distracted by the many horrible mistakes characters make in a film or the obvious over the top antics to get a jump out of everyone. The frightening scenes were done with enough smarts that it felt like you were a little kid wondering what goes bump in the night in your closet or under your bed. There were a lot of subtle and sneaky frights that didn’t need for an in your face monster or apparition to get you to be scared. The look of the Annabelle doll is enough to bring a tingle down your spine. With any movement of the doll is enough to give you a feeling in your stomach. What makes this different than other horror films are that you were scared not for what was after the girls but how the girls reacted to the scares. With their facial expressions and actions to make sure they didn’t get hurt is what gave you that suspenseful feeling and that adrenaline rush. Sandberg did that with Lights Out as well and I’m starting to prefer those types of scares. The movie also provides great set ups and foreshadowing that didn’t come off to obvious or predictable. What I am noticing with Sandberg and even James Wan with his tactical scares is that they get you with what is what you don’t see lurking in the dark vs. what pops out of the darkness.
I am fully recommending this movie to anyone who is interested in seeing the latest horror movie of the summer. This won’t be the last but it sure is one of the best released this year. You don’t need to see the first Annabelle to enjoy this movie either. Since this story is a prequel to the previous films and appearances of the doll you see what happens in the beginning. Yes, there are Easter eggs that connect the other films together which will only give you a sense of reward for seeing the other films but you will not be left out or confused with what is going on. I was completely entertained with little to no complaints on possible plot holes in the film. Also, you want to stay all the way through the credits on this one. You are going to see something mid-way through the credits but stay until there are officially over to see the last scene. This movie can be rewatched more than once and still provide scares again or be a part of a binge-a-thon with the other films in the franchise that will continue to grow in the future. As a non-fan of the first Annabelle movie, Annabelle: Creation is a great follow up and is an example that no matter how any movie turns out doesn’t mean the franchise or sequels are doomed to fail. If the character is strong enough and put in great hands of a good writer and director it has the potential to be great.
5 out of 5