Running Time: 109 minutes
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto
(Movie House Cinemas Preview Screening)
Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
Where to begin…
I adore horror, I love sitting in my cinema seat and getting genuinely creeped out and unsettled by a good horror movie! What can I say it’s a cathartic viewing experience for me, but that’s definitely not the case with this film because it just left me bored and annoyed!
The plot is so contrived and derivative, we’ve seen it all before in better films than this, young girls getting stalked by a demonic presence throughout a dimly lit old house. It feels as if the film’s writer has constructed the plot around one set-piece after another, a show reel of best bits from other horror films like The Exorcist, Amityville and The Ring: all of which have done these kinda scares much better before.
The characters and narrative just get in the way of the film’s next jumpy bit, and even those aren’t really that scary. The film throws everything at us, from creepy dolls, possessed children, demonic entities and scary scarecrows, yeap you heard me scary scarecrows!
Its ‘weak sauce’, a lazy box-ticking exercise in horror movie troupes and clichés for audiences to giggle and jump their way through on their trip to the cinema: there’s nothing here that really gets under your skin, but in all honesty this film never tries anything more audacious than the Brick Tamland quiet, quiet, LOUD NOISES scare tactic.
It’s a shame because I’m a fan of David F. Sandberg: he’s a horror director who knows what he’s doing within the genre. He’s directed several great horror shorts and whilst his feature debut, Lights Out, wasn’t perfect it showed a lot of potential.
But here it feels like Sandberg has been told to rein it all in and just follow the blueprint James Wan established with The Conjuring. It feels like a copy and paste job, but then these films make money so why would studios want anything different!
I’ve a soft-spot for both of the Conjuring films, probably because they’ve got two charismatic leads in Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Wilson. Take those two actors away and you get a film like Annabelle: Creation – a horror movie that just isn’t that scary and worse still is pretty boring.
Watching it feels like taking a ride on the same ghost train for the 1000th time: you’ve seen it all before and you know what’s coming, the tried and tested ‘jump scares’ have long lost their novelty factor and aren’t really that scary anymore!
Give me a horror movie like It Comes at Night any day of the week over a film like Annabelle: Creation