‘Annabelle: Creation’ goes back to horror film basics

Sandberg’s Conjuring prequel is simple, scary and satisfying


Contributed by Vimeo.com

Marley Parish, Editor-in-Chief

Move over Chuckie because there is a new, more terrifying doll in town, and her name is Annabelle. The latest installment in “The Conjuring” franchise, “Annabelle: Creation” takes place in pre-Barbie America in a horror film so simple that it is sure to send chills up your spine and keep you up late at night for weeks to come.

Director David Sandberg does not toy around with this prequel. Instead, he goes back to the basics of the horror genre. By relying on ghosts, childhood innocence and a heartbreaking back story, Sandberg lets the plot unfold on its own with every jump, spook and scare.

“Annabelle: Creation” is crafted into a spine-chilling film, perfectly stitched together with the simplicity and talented acting by such a young cast, specifically 16-year old Talitha Bateman and 11-year old Lulu Wilson.

Move over Chuckie because there is a new, more terrifying doll in town, and her name is Annabelle.

— Marley Parish

The Genesis of the franchise takes us back to 1957 where the polio-stricken Janice and friend Linda are among a group of orphaned girls and their guardian Sister Charlotte. The girls are invited to stay with Samuel and Esther Mullins, a married couple coping with the death of their daughter, “Bee.”

The first ten minutes move quickly as the plot jumps twelve-years after the death of the Mullins’s daughter. Bateman conquers her role as Janice, the outcast of the girls.

As the girls are getting settled into their new home, audiences begin to notice the paranormal activity taking place in the house and the supernatural secrets begin to unfold. Isolated from the other girls because of her condition, Janice is soon singled out and terrorized by the ghost.

The characters will have you screaming, “Do not go in there,” as Janice goes inside the dead daughter’s room after the once-locked door mysteriously opens late at night.

I do not know what it is about dolls that makes them such an effective medium for a scary movie, but “Annabelle: Creation” is no exception. The doll is such a simple prop and the movie’s obnoxiously obvious music makes it easy for audiences to predict when something is going to jump out and try to scare them. However, this movie tries to scare you and succeeds in more ways than one.

For the majority of the film, we do not actually see the ghost. Instead, Sandberg uses shadows and ominous footprints to strike fear into the hearts of viewers.

As the movie progresses, the ghost’s actions become more severe — throwing someone from the top of the stairs to the ground, killing a member of the Mullins household and locking one of the girls in the barn.

A lot is left to the imagination until the mysteriously masked Esther explains the origins of the doll and the unexplained events that have plagued the house.

It is not a new story. There are no new ground-breaking special effects, but I found myself jumping at scenes and covering my eyes, even though I saw the scare coming.

“Annabelle: Creation” fits in with the rest of “The Conjuring” movies and it is worth the watch. It adds depth to the rest of the films and leaves you with more questions with the cliffhanger ending.