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Annabelle: Creation - Movie Review

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Annabelle: Creation - Movie Review

4 stars

The pigtails.  The big, buggy eyes.  That wretched smile.  That damn doll is back.  And she’s ready for her turn to guide you through a funhouse of holy hell. 

Annabelle sits in the gathering darkness of a closed closet.  A little girl stands on the other side of the door.  She uses a skeleton key to open the door.  It slowly opens and she peeks inside.  The doll is visible.  It is unmoving.  Or did it just smile?  The girl closes the door and then locks it and hobbles away.  But wait.  The door opens behind her.  Oh, SHIT!

She stops short.  Surely, the doll is not behind her!  It is this scene, one of many in Annabelle: Creation, had me tearing at the armrests of my theater seat.  Consider this, the scene goes on and it's absolutely solid in what it does.  Welcome back to the land of the living, Annabelle!  Now, go back to Hell!

What a weird and wacky world we live in.  The Conjuring “universe” – yes, universe – now gets a prequel to a spin-off.  And it’s actually good!  Let that sink in.  With The Conjuring 3 and The Nun on the way (and talk of The Stick Man spin-off), we MUST talk about these films in terms of an extended universe now.  Thankfully, Annabelle’s creation gets the scary movie she so rightly deserves.  While there’s nothing new here, the latest chapter of her undead (and super possessed) biography simply doesn’t disappoint thrillseekers looking for funhouse thrills. 

That’s right, we actually IMPROVE upon the first tortured tale behind the demonic doll with this release.  It’s her origin story and, thankfully, it doesn’t suck.  Trust me, I am relieved because after Annabelle, the first spin-off in The Conjuring series, this horror film could have gone to the dogs.  Thankfully, it’s quite terrifying.  Seriously. 

Written by Gary Dauberman, Annabelle: Creation opens years later – 12 to be specific – after the death of a dollmaker’s little girl.  Their hearts are still grieving, yet he and his wife, who is degenerating in front of her husband due to an illness, open their run down California farmhouse to a nun and several of her school girls after theirs is no longer available. 

The girls are told not to go in his dead daughter’s bedroom.  They are instructed to not explore the other areas of the house, too.  Nothing to see there.  If so, then why are we already creeped out?!  The girls are immediately put off by the former toymaker.  They shouldn’t fear him, though.  It is his doll, made in honor of his little girl that they should steer clear of.  But the living doll has a mind of its own…

Director David F. Sandberg’s movie is one hell of a solid haunt.  The Lights Out director gives us a tale that is indeed worth telling without smacking us over the head with predictable jump scares and the like.  It might not be up to James Wan’s output, but it does way more than I was prepared to give it.  Scenes are prolonged.  Scares are pronounced and the camera is fully engaged in giving us a real sense of time, mood, and place.  So, yeah, that universe I mentioned a few lines ago is in good hands. 

Devil doll indeed.  This twisted tale – starring Anthony LaPaglia as Samuel Mullins, (an awesome) Lulu Wilson, Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlette, and Miranda Otto as Esther Mullins, Samuel's wife – is right up our alley, fellow Horror Hounds.  Folks, you have 20 minutes to settle into your seat before the shit hits the fan in this one.  Then you’re on your own.  Just know that you will be rewarded for having sat through the first film, too.

As excited as I am by this installment (due to its ratcheted up funhouse thrills) and the immediate future of the ongoing Conjuring series and its many spin-offs, I have to wonder about what else is waiting there in the Warren’s trophy room of haunts.  I have a feeling we will be spending a lot of time in that awesome library of things that go bump in the night really soon.

In the meantime, Annabelle: Creation breathes new life into this living dead girl.

Annabelle: Creation - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for horror violence and terror.
109 mins
: David F. Sandberg
Gary Dauberman
Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson
: Horror
The next chapter in The Conjuring universe.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Forgive me, Father, for I am about to sin."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 11, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: In “Annabelle: Creation,” several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

No details available.

Annabelle: Creation - Movie Review

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