20 July 2017 | criticadelcinema
A prequel of a prequel has no business being this good.
A prequel of Annabelle, which was the prequel of The Conjuring. Absolutely nobody asked for this. Nobody wanted this. No one. But, thankfully (surprising, right?) we got it.
Annabelle: Creation has no business being this good. Funny enough, the same can be said about 2016's Ouija: Origins of Evil. It is strange that these two bizarrely similar films were released within a year of each other. Both follow up on terrible first films. Both are prequels of those terrible first films. Both shouldn't have been made. Both are extremely effective horror films. Oh, and both star the excellent child-actor Lulu Wilson. The similarities don't even end there.
After the film ended and I saw who directed this, everything made more sense. David F. Sandberg has the reins here–who you might remember from directing Lights Out, another surprisingly great 2016 horror flick. The work done in that movie with the use of lighting and repetition is just as suspenseful here (if not more so, in some scenes). Sandberg thankfully stamps what could have been run-of-the- mill horror scenes with his signature creativity. Horror largely relies on the talent of the director, and this is a case of the direction only elevating the film.
While Lulu Wilson is a definitely a standout in her second straight horror movie role, her counterpart Talitha Bateman also gives a great performance. As in most horror movies, most of the scares are seen through the eyes of the children in the film. Luckily, the two youngest actresses here–Wilson and Bateman–practically act circles around the rest of the cast. In fact, there were quite a few moments when I felt as though these two actresses deserved a better script. The pair definitely do the best they can with what they are given however, adding a great deal of character to this film.
The bar is low when it comes to horror film scripts. Even the best of the genre still have the occasional cringe-worthy line or plot hole (The Conjuring 2, I'm looking at you). All this to say, I'm going to go easy on the faults of Annabelle: Creation's script. The writing here is not bad by any means. There are cringy lines here and there, but that is to be expected. The characters make extremely poor choices, but even that is to be expected. The problem rests almost solely in the dull first 30 minutes of this film.
Look, I'm all for slow burn horror movies. But when the star of your horror film is an inanimate object, you just can't afford to have a slow opening act. However, once this film starts picking up with the scares in the latter half of the film, much of that first act can be forgiven. The film goes in some unexpected directions towards the end of the film which adds some surprising creativity.
No spoilers of course, but the way the first Annabelle is tied in to this film is outstanding. So outstanding that it almost makes up for the 90 minutes I wasted sitting through the garbage that was that first film. Almost.
Credit to director David F. Sandberg for rescuing this franchise from a tedious first film. Annabelle: Creation is legitimately scary, which is all you can really ask for from a horror film.