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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 4, 2017

Annabelle: Creation Movie Review - An Effective Scary Movie That Truly Frightens The Audiences And Makes Them Scream

THE SCARY DOLL Annabelle was first introduced in James Wan’s blockbuster horror flick, “The Conjuring”, in 2013. She was a hit with fright addicts so a spin off movie was made on her in 2014, “Annabelle”, which was so badly done and yet still made money. So we’re not surprised it now has a followup flick, “Annabelle: Creation”, which is actually a prequel and a Part 2 movie that is actually better than its Part 1.

As “Conjuring” shows, Annabelle now stays among the collection of occults objects of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in their home in Connecticut. The new Annabelle movie is directed by David Sandberg, who hit it big with “Lights Out”. The “Creation” in the title makes it clear that this is an origin story for one of the most scary dolls in the history of cinema, just like Chucky.

It sets up its own mythos and characters that echo strains from the original James Wan work. “Conjuring” is about sisters who are haunted in the house where they moved in. “Creation” offers a new group of six young girls who are made to live in a big isolated house in the mountains after the Catholic orphanage where they used to live closed down.

The girls’ guardian is Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman). The girls who quickly get our attention and sympathy are Janice (Talitha Bateman), who’s suffering from polio, and her kind best friend, Linda (Lulu Wilson), both easy targets for evil.

The house is owned by toymaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto), who lost their only child named Annabelle exactly 12 years ago. In the film’s prologue, we are shown how Annabelle perished in a tragic road accident.

Janice and Lulu occupy double decked beds in the sewing room where Esther made doll costumes. Mr. Mullins seems like a nice guy but his wife is mysterious. She’s bed-ridden, wears a mask ala-Phantom of the Opera, and just rings a bell whenever she needs her husband.

The girls are forbidden to enter the locked bedroom that used to belong to the dead girl, but as you would expect in movies of this sort, that’s exactly where Janice gets in because she suddenly finds the locked room open in the middle of the night.

She finds a large doll in a white dress inside a huge wardrobe. Soon, the doll is seen appearing in various places around the house. Janice gets properly spooked, but as usual, no one would believe her about the doll’s demonic connection. Soon, things get worse for everyone.

Compared to the first “Annabelle” spin off movie, this one has a more intense visual language. Sandberg uses all the right tricks in genre fright movies of this sort to build up tension (and he knows that we’re already familiar with them) as we get to sympathize with the terrorized young girls, unleashing the fury in full force in the movie’s last 20 minutes or so.

He also makes clever use of the production designer’s architectual layout for the creepy farmhouse, well blocked and photographed by cinematographer Maxime Alexandre. He’s likewise aware that fear is generated by the unknown, so we don’t see much in the beginning. The story is coherently told as more and more details are revealed about how Annabelle became the evil spirit possessing the doll and inhabiting the house as the film progresses.

And there are just too many scenes that will jolt you and scare you, starting with the scene where Janice puts a blanket to cover the scary doll then it stands up and walks toward her. Another unforgettable scene is when the nun is suddenly lifted from the floor by an unknown force and hurled into a huge mirror that breaks into pieces.

All in all, we’d say that “Creation” is a well crafted genre flick, quite a vast improvement over the 2014 movie which was just so awful. It capitalizes more on mood and atmosphere than just cheap scare tactics. We saw it in a full packed mall theatre and the viewers were really screaming their heads off from start to finish, a clear indication of how much they enjoy being scared out of their wits. The movie ends with a scene that indicates another spin-off, so be ready for “Annabelle 3”, especially now that this one is making a killing at the box office worldwide.