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Annabelle: Creation

I truly cannot believe that I’m writing these words, but with the release and subsequent success of ANNABELLE: CREATION, the CONJURING film franchise has now grossed over $1,000,000,000 at the box office. Yes, you read that right, a BILLION dollars. This has moved the marketable machine into some pretty elite territory, joining the likes of STAR WARS and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

The most astounding aspect of the CONJURING universe is the sense of familiarity, and yes, repetitiveness, of each chapter. In many ways, it feels as if the same film has been released numerous times, yet it has become a stalwart that will provide its audiences with plenty of “gotcha” scares, and enough of a storyline to justify its own existence.

The CONJURING universe films have become a stalwart that will provide its audiences with plenty of “gotcha” scares, and enough of a storyline to justify its own existence.

ANNABELLE: CREATION is, in some ways, an origin story. It tells the tale of a group of young girls that come live in an old farmhouse that has been converted into an orphanage. The orphanage is overseen by a couple, Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther (Miranda Otto) who had lost their daughter 12 years prior when she was a struck by an automobile. At the time of the accident, Samuel was a skilled doll maker, but after the death of his daughter, his creations were no longer of significance to him. One of these dolls, of course, is Annabelle. She is a mute, undeniably creepy creature that had been packed away for over a decade, before wriggling her way out of hiding. Once discovered, she begins to terrorize the girls of the orphanage and all of those that stand in her way.

The fourth installment in the CONJURING universe has a handsome production design, and while it is unlikely that it will win over any new converts, it will certainly appeal to fans of the franchise. An old-school orphanage in the middle of nowhere is a standard issue horror setting, and it remains an effective one. The fact that Annabelle doesn’t spout off zippy one-liners like Chucky used to, nor does she (visibly) scurry around, which, in most films like this, yields unintended comical hilarity. Instead, director David F Sandberg heavily relies on the art of implication, which has made there mere presence of Annabelle far more frightening than any direct action she has perpetrated. She is, for the most part, stationary and intimidating. The downside of this, however, is that the film feels rather aimless. Part ghost story, part homicidal doll story, it never has a clear direction or focus.

ANNABELLE: CREATION does nothing to distance itself from the countless others like it however The most glaring issue of the production, is that, when it comes down to it, it’s simply not scary enough.

The fact that ANNABELLE: CREATION does nothing to distance itself from the countless others like it in terms of plot doesn’t come in a shock in any way, nor is the biggest flaw of the film. The most glaring issue of the production, is that, when it comes down to it, it’s simply not scary enough. While I readily admit that I would rather watch ANNABELLE or another CONJURING as opposed to, say, one of the latter installments in the SAW franchise (which will get another chapter this October) it simply doesn’t stand out against many of its modern counterparts. Horror has been enjoying a resurgence of creativity with recent hits like THE BABADOOK, IT FOLLOWS, and DON’T BREATHE, and it is productions such as these that are far more memorable than the by-the-book thrills exhibited in the pedestrian ANNABELLE: CREATION.

Annabelle: Creation

RATED: R

RUN TIME: 1h 49min

GENRE: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

STARRING: Anthony LaPaglia,
Samara Lee, Miranda Otto

DIRECTORs: David F. Sandberg

Writer: Gary Dauberman

GRADE: C-

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for allowing me to attend this month’s film.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.