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Annabelle: Creation

Annabelle: Creation

Released 11 August 2017
Director David F. Sandberg

Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, Lou Lou Safran, Samara Lee, Tayler Buck, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
Writer(s) Gary Dauberman
Producer(s) Peter Safran, James Wan
Origin United States
Running Time 119 minutes
Genre Horror, mystery, thriller
Rating 16

Living Doll.

Annabelle: Creation is, I’m told, the latest instalment in the “Conjuring Universe.” While trying to explain the context of this saga to my movie-going companion, I discovered I can no longer distinguish between my Sinisters, my Insidious’ and my Conjurings; these fairground-ride movies have all formed into one big jump-scare in my mind. Also, Patrick Wilson is in at least three of them so I think the confusion is justified. Anyway, silly cinematic universes aside, Annabelle: Creation is rather good fun and its titular manifestation marks it out as a little more memorable than some of its stablemates.

Twelve years ago, the Mullins’ (played by Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto) lost their young daughter in a freak road accident. Since then, they have locked themselves away in their large isolated house, overcome by grief. In an attempt to move on and atone for past sins, the Mullins’ open their house to a group of orphaned girls and their carer, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman). At first, the girls are delighted with their new home but when Janice (Talitha Bateman) finds a mysterious doll in an empty room, terrifying apparitions begin to manifest themselves to the girls.

Creepy dolls, particularly of the porcelain variety, share a very special place in the collective psyche with clowns, as images that bring joy to some and abject terror to others. As such, Annabelle: Creation may seem a little route-one in terms of horror films. Happily, director David F. Sandberg seems keen to exploit the simplicity of this fear, and for most of the film he rejects CGI histrionics in favour of the simple thrill of seeing a creepy doll in a darkened room. This tactic ensures that he manages to build so much tension, that when the more flamboyant scares come, they land with satisfying regularity. Furthermore, this is a film that has a nice sense of playfulness. There are some moments of comedy between the young cast, allowing the audience the odd chuckle amid the jumps.

All in all, Annabelle: Creation is a fun watch. The horror aspect may rely a little too heavily on jump scares but there is still an old-fashioned haunted house feeling to the film that will charm horror aficionados.

- Linda O’Brien