Directed by David F. Sandberg
Written by Gary Dauberman
Starring Stephanie Sigman, Lulu Wilson, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
Review by Jordan
If there’s one thing Victor Salva’s Jeepers Creepers II taught us, which fond memories of The Wizard of Oz might’ve clouded, it’s that scarecrows are creepy… very creepy. This is again made abundantly clear in David Sandberg’s Annabelle: Creation, which uses its now infamous conduit in tandem with the shadowy corners and impossible silence of a ramshackle orphanage to continue The Conjuring’s notable legacy.
Years following the tragic death of their young daughter, doll maker Samuel Mullins and his reclusive, distraught wife Esther open their home to a nun and several girls under her care. The old property on a sprawling lot is a haven for all the orphans bar one: the kind-hearted Janice, who at night when locked doors open and floorboards creak begins being haunted by Samuel’s most imposing creation, Annabelle.
An impressive tracking shot following the girls as they first enter the Mullins estate is an early indicator of the quality to follow, and the shocking death of young Bee even earlier demonstrates the tone. A sequel/prequel to a spin-off such as this has no precedence to be a slow-burn and pleasingly unhurried, with James Wan’s influence clearly felt throughout, although where Wan and Sandberg differ (as has previously been established with the latter’s Lights Out, released last year), is that Wan is invested in the psychology behind the scares and his film’s overall narrative design, whereas Sandberg crafts his terrifying moments in isolation, with a lesser story to bridge them.
I’m not quite sure how the scarecrow fits into the overall lore and design of this very unsettling universe, but when its spotted hanging menacingly on a dilapidated shed wall in the dark it sure is scary.
Annabelle: Creation also bypasses plot holes in favour of logic chasms, the most enjoyable of which being when a significant character dies in a rather gruesome way and is discovered in horror, only for it to be dismissed very quickly afterwards, as the girls are ushered back inside and frightening life in the orphanage goes on. In most other films this would be a cause for criticism, but in a funhouse such as this, sometimes its the goofy elements that are just as endearingly memorable as the terrifying.
In hindsight, though its effective I suppose that the nature of the ending doesn’t make a great deal of sense either. Still, do we really need logic in a film about a killer doll?
3.5 intricate doll-houses out of 5