Tonight, I watched the film Annabelle: Creation. This is coming from a person who has never watched a single Conjuring film in my life. I would like to, since I heard good things, but I have never watched them. Now, Annabelle is said to be a prequel to the first Annabelle movie. I have never watched the first one either, but, given it's poor critical reception, I don't think I'm missing too much. So, is Annabelle's prequel film better, or is it just as bad. Well, let's find out, shall we?
Annabelle: Creation follows a group of young orphaned girls. The two friends, Linda and Janice, the latter suffering from polio, and some other girls you probably don't care about. They arrive at the home of Samuel and Esther Mullins, a couple who lost their daughter, Bee, twelve years ago, which I will get to later. Samuel agreed to let the orphaned girls stay in their home, but warned them to not go into Bee's room. When Janice does go in, however, she finds a secret room, and in it is the doll itself, which is where the film's terrifying moments begin. Now, again, I never saw any of the Conjuring films, but thankfully, I went with my equally horror enthusiast friend, Ben, who has watched both Conjuring films and the first Annabelle film, so whatever I didn't get, he certainly did.
Now, first off, the characters are your standard children. They make dumb choices, are constantly curious, but when they know what they are doing, they don't hesitate and manage to get things done. Sure, they may not be the sharpest knives around, but they could be worse. They could be much worse. They aren't your stupid teens in the woods with a serial killer, thank god. And, for child actors, their acting was honestly not half bad. Sure, there were some one off moments, but they did give expressions of genuine fear, so I can at least say that they got the fear down perfectly. The grown-ups also managed to get some good performances in as well, so I can safely say that they know what they were getting into with a movie like this. They didn't give some half-assed job with the acting. They did pretty good. There were moments where I felt like shouting, "Get out of the room" at the screen, but they had no idea, and were clearly being lured in by some creature, so they aren't totally stupid. Just a little hapless. It's a breath of fresh air when you can at least consider your characters to not be totally stupid in this situation.
With characters out of the way, how is the scares. Honestly, I loved the scares. I'm not sure how the scares were in the original Annabelle, but I'm assuming they were never this good. Moments of complete silence followed by a brilliantly unique scare was very nice to see. Sure, some may say that they do this a little too much in the movie, and I can agree to an extent, but I think that they always had new outcomes to it that it never felt like it got too stale or predictable. And sure, you may hear the constant violin horror sound effect that comes in almost every horror movie jump scare fest that everyone is sick of hearing, but when you hear a unique sound, by god you hear it. From the footsteps in the shadows getting faster until it's in a sprint, to the sounds of bones cracking in a person's body as they change shape. I also heard that the use of lighting was pretty much just using shadows. And yeah, the film was pretty dark at points, but I think that adds to the mystery of the creature that is lurking within the shadows. My friend was genuinely scared of the little paper messages that was left around the movie. And while I would never find dolls creepy, I have to say, the very subtle head movements of the doll in this movie did make me a little uncomfortable. And the creatures, for what little there were, were always amazing. Conjuring always had some memorable monsters, even to those who never watched them. To the brief appearance of the Lip Stick Demon, to the haunting sight of the Crooked Man. This movie had it's own, from the disturbing doll that haunted the house, to the scarecrow, waiting to make it's move. I really did enjoy the scares in this movie.
Alright, now time for some things I disliked about Annabelle: Creation. First off, there were some moments that did feel a bit samey. There were lots of quiet moments with a big jump to it. Yes, I know that I said that they were always different to where it felt good, but I can easily see why people would get sick of it. There were also moments that I didn't find scary. Some even silly. And finding a horror movie silly should be the last thing you want in a horror movie. Maybe it's just my twisted sense of humor, I don't know. But the thing that irritates me the most is the death of Bee, the child of Samuel and Esther. Not really a spoiler, since it happens in the first scene of the movie. So, Samuel needs to change the tire on his car. A car comes by, which Esther wants to ask for help. Samuel says not to bother, and as he tries to pry a nut off the wheel, it flies out into the road. Bee goes to get it, and in that moment, gets hit by the car and is killed. Actually dead. This, not only made me laugh at how sudden and stupid it was, but was horribly unnecessary. This was a death that could have easily been avoided. It was so easy to avoid something like this, but it just didn't happen. I don't know weather to laugh of be angry... I'm Laungry.
So, yeah, Annabelle: Creation isn't a perfect horror movie. But it sure does have it's moments. There may be some silly moments in there, and there may be some moments that irritate you at the stupidity of it. But when it tries to scare you, it works. I will say, this does have some great visual scares, so at least Annabelle: Creation manages there. It's not perfect, but it's amazing enough to peak my interest into looking into the Conjuring series. Take care.