Written by: Gary Dauberman
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Release Date: August 11, 2017
After spending an incredibly long day at work, my roommate and I trekked downtown to sit in line for the free screening of Annabelle: Creation. While we both love The Conjuring films, we had found the first Annabelle film to be lacking. Of course, sometimes you are just in the mood to be scared and we were in the mood to be frightened out of our wits. I was kind of hopeful for this film, even though I probably didn’t go in with the most open of minds. I’ll admit that.
I did want to like this film, and I know Socorro wanted to like this film… I have to say though, I’m not sure if I did…
At the theater they passed out St. Benedict medals to the audience. They were tokens to protect us from Annabelle as we watched the film. The screen was promoting fun Snapchat filters and a website (Annabelle’s Presence) that would allow you to edit Annabelle into your own photos.
Then the film started. Let me start off by saying I had a lot of fun at this film. The audiences at early screenings can be really energetic as they are usually more expressive about their likes and dislikes. This time, it made for a fun film experience, but Annabelle isn’t going to be haunting my dreams anytime soon. I was able to get a restful night’s sleep the night of the film, so it kind of failed in that aspect.
So, Annabelle: Creation is not a sequel, as you can guess from the title, this is another origin story. If you’re confused because you thought the first film AND the first five minutes of The Conjuring covered all of that, than trust me you aren’t alone. The origin of Annabelle has been explained so many times, its overkill.
The basic set up is a doll maker and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Mullins, suffer the loss of their only child in an unexpected accident. Twelve years later, they open their home to a group of orphaned girls and Sister Charlotte, their guardian. Immediately upon entering the home, the doll and it’s demonic spirit begins to torment the girls. We are talking like less than five minutes after walking into the home.
I actually expected that the Mullins were in on it from the beginning. That they had brought a group of girls so that Annabelle could feast on their souls or something to that affect. I was very confused when it turned out they were just oblivious to the fact that you tell children not to go into the locked room full a child’s toys, that they would immediately go into said room. So, nope. The Mullins, like the rest of the characters suffer from Dumb Decision Syndrome.
Dumb Decision Syndrome. It’s a pet peeve most people have with the horror genre. Sometimes characters have to make dumb decisions just to put them in the right scenario for a scare. It’s something you just have to accept when a character goes towards that creepy sound in the dark (to be fair though, I have absolutely been guilty of walking towards the weird sound in the middle of the night with a baseball bat, so yeah). Anyway, that’s not even the worst of what I’m talking about here. This is characters who not only go towards the floor creaks in the dark, but continue to explore a room in which objects are moving by themselves. It got to the point where every member of the audience where throwing their arms up and screaming “WHY?!”
The film was so preoccupied with being “scary” that it became comical. Apart from yelling at the screen, my audience reacted to most of the scares with laughter and disbelief because most of the time the characters continued making dumb decisions.
As a side note, everyone one of the characters should have their hearing checked, as they somehow never heard their friend screaming her lungs out. At one point the girl screams for an entire night and not one person wakes up to help her. Another time her friends are maybe 10 feet away and never heard her terrified screams. Seriously, someone take up a collection and get these girls some hearing aids.
On a personal note: when it comes to dumbwaiters, just say ‘No’. Nothing good has ever come of a dumbwaiter.
Now this next part is a kind of a petty annoyance. I know the demon nun from The Conjuring 2 is getting its own spin off, but is it supposed to connect to Annabelle as well? There were a few times in which a demonic nun figure was brought up and without knowing about the upcoming spin off, it did seem a little out of place (so did the scarecrow, but scarecrows are always creepy. Just ask Dean Winchester). If I was the only one bothered by the randomly tacked on story about the demon nun that was not really relevant, than I will concede that point.
The film succeeds in the moments when it wasn’t trying too hard. The moments when it used (intentional) humor to defuse the tension before dropping the scary hammer. Sometimes you just have to breathe before you shriek in fear (of course there wasn’t too much of that happening this time, but you know for other movies).
There was also a fun little nod to the real Annabelle, so that made me smile.
The film wrapped up in such a way that it perfectly connected with the first film. It actually made me want to watch the first film again.
In Conclusion: I had fun at the movies. The audience was having a good time, despite not having the reactions that were probably hoped for. This is a movie that I can see sitting down to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon with junk food and family. It does border on ridiculous and careless due to the amount of dumb decisions the characters choose to make. Perhaps that’s what was fun about it.
Last minute note: I realized that this film shares its director with Lights Out, which I found to be the superior film. Lights Out made me reach for the light switches when I got home. It made me cheer for the characters and wish them well and fear for their safely because they actually had personalities that extended past the ability to make dumb decisions.