Seen 20th August
From Talky Tina to Chucky, the concept of a living doll has been a bit of a staple of the horror genre for a long time. The idea of something that has no life of it’s own somehow finding a way to murder is terrifying. Annabelle has been hoping to be added to this group of iconic killer dolls for a while now and finally, with Annabelle: Creation it just might have pulled that off.
Annabelle: Creation starts with the Mullins family who experiences a tragedy when their daughter, Annabelle, is killed by a car one day after church. Distraught, they beg someone to bring her back to them and when she comes back, she comes back wrong. Eventually finding her way into the doll, Annabelle is locked up in a closet that’s wallpapered in assorted Bible verses after she causes her mother a serious wound. She stays there for 12 years until an orphanage consisting of six young girls and a nun move in with the Mullins, and Annabelle get’s out with only one plan in mind… get a better body.
I’m going to state right at the start that I loathed the original Annabelle. It was a sloppy mess that had no real scares or anything worthy of saying. It was not a good horror film by any means, the only good scene was the opening scene and that’s it. I went into this film with absolutely no expectations, I hated the first film so I was prepared to hate this one. Luckily, I didn’t.
This film has a much better understanding of how to use the doll than the orignal did. They never move her when we can see the doll but the creative use of shadows of blurred shots makes her creepy and effective. There’s a scene where Annabelle is covered with a sheet and appears to walk, it’s terrifying and the payoff of that scare is even better.
Jump scares are a common thing that this film employs, which is understandable since it is a haunting movie and that genre of horror uses jump scares a fair amount. However, the jump scares here are done following some serious build up, they make sure they earn that sudden jump by dragging the audience right to the edge of their seat… most of the time, there is one right at the start which is just silly and bad, but other than that they work. I also really like the story, they let the characters progress naturally, we get a good valid reason why everyone doesn’t get the hell out of the house when the first piece of insanity happens and it’s a mostly female cast that carries the film easily.
Sadly though there are moments where some stuff that happens is just impossibly stupid. There’s a shot you all saw if you watched the trailer of a girl being thrown up in the air from a chair lift. She survives that, she is thrown up in the air and get’s a solid 5-10 seconds of airtime before being slammed onto the ground about 2-3 floors below. She has polio, she should be dead from that fall. Indeed there are a few moments where I genuinely just went “Nope, you’re dead. I don’t care that you’re alive right now, that impact killed you”. I get that it’s a movie about a possessed doll and therefore some rules of reality have to be ignored, but if you are thrown down on hard ground from several stories up, I’m pretty sure you have worse injuries than a broken leg.
The characters constantly seem to forget one basic rule, namely “Do not go in this one room”. Breaking it once is understandable, but it keeps being broken for no real reason other than just “These people are idiots” and it’s an annoying thing that keeps happening throughout the movie. It just seems like it’s done to bump up the runtime of the movie and there are so many better ways to do that.
Speaking of the runtime, this film could’ve ended about 2 sequences sooner. I’m not going to spoil the ending but when you see it, I think you’ll agree that the 2 time jumps at the very end of the film aren’t needed. Neither are any scenes at the well or anything involving the scarecrow, it’s just filler and it’s not even great filler. This film could’ve been an easy tight 90 minutes long and worked so much better but these scenes that just drag out the film also make it less effective. Just focus on the doll, that’s what everyone is here for and that’s the story we’re telling. Suddenly moving to something different and unreleated just for a scare ends up just being an irritant and not welcome.
In general, the film is a vast improvement on what we saw last time, good scares and some nods to the lore of the actual doll that inspired the creation of Annabelle. It’s a good horror film, not great and undoubtedly could’ve been so much better, but it’s good and that’s a huge step up for this series.