Annabelle: Creation – 2017
Director David F. Sandberg
Screenplay Gary Dauberman
Starring Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, LuLu Wilson
The strength of The Conjuring universe is that the threads are as consistent and strong as anything we’ve seen with an extensive history. When one considers that this universe does not have an extensive history, it’s even more remarkable. Gary Dauberman has been the creative force behind these two films, as well the upcoming film The Nun.
His vision for Annabelle, played in chronological order, seems a whole lot less interesting than the way the first two films have been presented. As it stands, the formula works based on the skill of the directors in presenting the same thing we’ve seen before, diced up, mixed around and put together in a unique way.
Sandberg has taken the creation of an absolutely classic short of Lights Out into two good, but ultimately average films. The imagery repeated from just in the George C. Scott classic The Changeling is enough to fill a quarter of the running time.
That’s not to say it’s not any fun. This film gives good characters a scare that builds at a reasonable pace. The only character that doesn’t work completely is LaPaglia’s somber, creative father figure who doesn’t know if he’s a grouchy loner or a charitable giver of his heart.
That Lulu Wilson spent her last big film cozying up to a demon in Ouija: Origin of Evil. This time, she watches in horror as the same thing happens in a similarly titled film to one of her friends. Thing is, she gives really good horrified face. It’s a blessing and a curse. Let’s hope it doesn’t get old before she grows up.
The scariest parts of the film are subtle allusions to Valak. I won’t tell you what happens, but just pay attention to incidental conversation, quiet walks in the chair, show and tell and wait for the end of the credits.
If you like the first film, you should love the very clear connection to the first film. It’s the most original aspect of a series that doesn’t really need originality. I can’t believe it works, but it really does.
(***1/2 out of *****)