annabelle: creation | annabelle | david f. sandberg | gary dauberman | anthony lapaglia | samara lee | miranda otto | sequel | prequel | mystery | thriller | united states | haunted | haunted house | demon | possessed | lulu wilson | talitha eliana bateman
Film: Annabelle: Creation
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee and Miranda Otto
This film begins with a toymaker, played by Anthony LaPaglia, making the doll from the original Annabelle film. He lives with his wife, played by Miranda Otto, and their daughter, played by Samara Lee. Lee and LaPaglia play a game of hide-and-seek, where she leaves notes and he does this back to her.
The three of them go to church. As they are going to leave, a local shop owner asks about the dolls that LaPaglia is making for him. Otto informs the man that they are done and can be picked up the following day. On their way home, they get a flat tire. LaPaglia is trying to change it and it is fighting back. Otto notices a truck coming. LaPaglia ends up flinging a nut and Lee goes to pick it up. She is fatally hit.
We then jump 12 years into the future. We have a bus that is filled with orphans. Sitting together are Lulu Wilson and Talitha Eliana Bateman. They both have dolls and are best friends. They make a pact that they will try to get adopted together, so they can truly be sisters. Driving the bus is a priest, played by Mark Bramhall. A nun is also on it, played by Stephanie Sigman.
They are taken to LaPaglia’s house where they have turned it into an orphanage. Also moving into the house are other girls, they are played by Grace Fulton, Philippa Coulthard, Tayler Buck and Lou Lou Safran. We also learn at this time that Bateman had a bought of polo. She has to wear a brace on one of her legs and walks with a crutch.
As LaPaglia gives them the tour of the house, he tells that they can use any of the rooms on the ground level, except the room that he shares with Otto. She is kept locked up. They come to the stairs and Sigman states that they will need to make a room for Bateman on the ground level. He then reveals that there is a motorized chair that will allow her to get up and down the stairs.
On the second floor, Fulton and Coulthard take the biggest room. It has four beds and they take one half of the room. Wilson asks about staying in that room, but Fulton and Coulthard elect to have the two older girls, Buck and Safran, stay in that room with them. When Bateman looks for a free room, she comes to one that is locked. LaPaglia informs her that this room stays locked at all times.
Sigman finds a room for herself and while she is unpacking, a dumb waiter behind her opens. The pages of her bible start to blow from the draft. She tries to close it, but cannot get it to stay shut. Coulthard then scares her and asks if they can go explore. She allows the girls to. Wilson asks Bateman if she wants to come and she declines. She longingly look outside at the girls and we see something moving up behind her. When she turns around, there is nothing there and the door opens wider on its own.
That night they all go to have dinner together. LaPaglia has to leave when he hears Otto ringing a bell for him. There is something wrong with her and she wears a mask over part of her face. What happened to her and why is she stuck in that room?
When everyone is asleep, Bateman is having trouble. She leaves her room to find that the door is open. The room belonged to Lee and she looks at the things she had in there. She finds a closet that is open and it mysteriously has pages from the bible all over the walls. Bateman gets spooked and goes back to her room.
Bateman is then seeing the ghost of Lee, or is it something else? The doll starts to appear more and the room is open again the next night. We see that there is something sinister that has been hiding in there. What will happen with it? Is Bateman safe from whatever it is like Sigman thinks? Or is everyone in trouble?
I have to say that I was leery coming in to see this film, because I was disappointed by the original Annabelle film. I had heard good things from some of the podcasts I listen to so I decided to view it. I have to say that I really liked this one actually. This film does show the doll as it was created and then shows us the demon that now inhabits it. This film has a solid story that builds tension to the end, which then leads into the film this is a prequel to. I also really liked that it references The Conjuring 2 as well with an image as well as an after the credits scene. The story has some issues, but I felt they were mostly minor. I do know that Ed and Lorraine Warren have the real Annabelle doll in their museum, but I am curious if the story that is told here is the story that is really associated with the doll or not.
The acting in this film I thought was pretty solid as well. LaPaglia was great. We see how happy he is in the beginning and how withdrawn he has become after the death of his daughter. To build off that, he also shows fear when he realizes the evil is still there. Otto doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but I felt she was good as well. She is a solid actress. Bateman was also very good for being a child actress. She plays off her psychical ailment well as well as showing fear and the weariness that comes with it. The other girls were good as well in my eyes. Sigman did solid as the nun and she was easy to look at which always helps.
Next I will cover the effects of the film. They were done mostly with CGI, which I normally am not a fan of, but I will say that I think this film they looked good. I didn’t see anything that looked fake to me. I loved that the demon we see is normally in the shadows or we get quick glimpses of it. That makes it much scarier for me. This film did some good things with its shots as well. We see things moving around behind characters that they don’t notice, which terrifies me. There are a lot of uses of mirrors in shots which I thought was a good touch. I felt the film was edited well. It builds tension to the climax which is good. I also loved some of the transitions, especially how they ended it, tying it back in with the original film. The score of the film was decent. They have a song that plays over and over, which is associated with Lee and the demon. I thought that was good and the song choices help set the mood.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. I feel that this one stands up there with The Conjuring unlike the original Annabelle film. This one was much tighter to me and had a better story. I do think that this one could be viewed as part of that universe or watched as a stand alone. The acting was good. The effects were as well. The scares were not all based on jump scares, which I’m glad for. The editing helps to build tension along with the story until the climax. The score was solid. I would definitely say that this is a good demon/possession film.
My Rating: 8 out of 10