In 2013 James Wan, director of Insidious, introduced audiences to famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring. The Conjuring was based on the true hauntings of the Perron Family in the 70’s, the Warrens were responsible for the investigation. Many believed the film to be one of the scariest movies since The Exorcist and it proved to be wildly successful.
The Conjuring opened with one of the many cases investigated by the Warrens. The case of a haunted doll — Annabelle. Audiences were intrigued by the cold open of the film. An Annabelle film was shortly announced and was released in 2014. The spinoff was a success in the box office but it wasn’t received well with audiences. This week Annabelle gets another chance with the origins of the demonic doll, Annabelle: Creation.
Directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out), Annabelle: Creation delves into the history of the demonically possessed doll. Creation follows a group of young orphaned girls and a nun as they are welcomed into the Mullins home; a mysterious family who has had their share of tragedies. These mysteries are slowly revealed as the group of orphans begin to overstay their welcome.
Pace & Tone
With an hour and forty-nine minute running time, Creation is a perfectly paced film. Not a moment is wasted. The tone of the film is set right away with the opening scene. When the tension begins to build, it doesn’t let up until the credits start rolling. This film isn’t afraid to take risks and is allowed to be as dark as the story calls for. While most of the characters of the film are young girls, Creation does not hold back and does become unrelentingly dark. This is a horror movie, after all.
Annabelle: Creation is filled with many scares, big and small. Some of the most effective scares of the film are more subtle than your traditional jump scares or set piece moments. These more subtle scares only add to the tension. There is no shortage of these frightening moments and they only elevate throughout the film’s duration.
While Annabelle: Creation is a spinoff, the film doesn’t feel dissimilar to The Conjuring or its sequel. While a hint of James Wan’s signature horror style makes its way into the film, David Sandberg has made a remarkable horror film that feels like his own. Modern horror films often rely on digital effects but Annabelle: Creation doesn’t and a great share of the film is done practically. Creation is packed to the brim with clever camera movement and subtle frightening shots. Blink and you might miss it.
What would a demonic movie be without a demon? Most horror films fall flat when the “monster” of the film is shown entirely. It takes away from the mystery and starts to become less impactful. The demon of Annabelle: Creation is terrifying and is handled incredibly well. The demon is only ever seen a few frames at a time which is more than effective. It is horrifying and striking. For an inanimate object, Annabelle is commanding and its presence is felt every time it is on screen.
Annabelle: Creation visits few horror tropes but avoids ever feeling generic or mediocre. While good horror films are few and far between, Creation is refreshing. While the film can stand on its own, it does contribute to the greater universe and is a great installment to the “Conjuring-Universe.” While Annabelle: Creation is a spinoff, it is just as great as one of the flagship The Conjuring films. I highly recommend Annabelle: Creation as it is wildly entertaining and satisfying for horror fans alike.