Annabelle: Creation is the latest in The Conjuring series and a prequel to 2014’s Annabelle. I went into this, as I do with all movies, with an open mind.
The first thing that needs to be said about this movie is that it’s not required for you to know anything about the previous films to enjoy this installment. Creation can be viewed as a standalone film, but it obviously has some nice little moments if you’re a fan of the franchise. It is directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) and stars Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records, Without A Trace) as Annabelle’s father, Samuel Mullins, Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings, 24:Legacy) as Annabelle’s mother, Esther Mullins, Talitha Bateman (Nine Lives, Hart of Dixie) as Janice, Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil) as Linda, and Stephanie Sigman (Narcos) as Sister Charlotte.
The acting in the film is very good, but the standout talent is clearly Talitha Bateman. Obviously, LaPaglia, Otto, and Sigman bring the performances that they’ve come to be known for, but Bateman really bursts forward with a nuanced performance that is rare for such a young performer. Keep an eye on her.
The pace of the film is good and the writing really works. Dialogue is sparse at times with Sandberg using the silence to help create not only the atmosphere of a horror movie, but also to create a drama with the isolation of the setting as a character in, and of, itself. There are a couple of jump scares, but they work well. The score does it’s job perfectly in the moment, but it didn’t stay with me. There is no Jaws or Friday the 13th theme here. That’s fine because not every film will have a legendary score, but it would be nice for this film to have something to hang its hat on in that respect.
Finally, Sandberg does a great job of telling the audience the backstory of Annabelle, of connecting this installment to the previous one, and of setting up the next film in the franchise (wait for the post-credits scene).
The Grade: B-
I have to give this one a B-. I can’t say that this will go down as a classic horror film, but it is good and certainly worthy of a watch. If you can catch it in theaters, please do so. If not, it should transfer to the small screen pretty well without losing much at all.