Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review of ANNABELLE: CREATION: Demon in Doll

August 24, 2017

The horror film franchise family for the film "The Conjuring" (2013) is growing fast. This film "Annabelle: Creation" is already the fourth in the series, and is a prequel of the first "Annabelle" (2014). I actually liked the first film, and it was interesting how it was able to spin off its side characters into their own series. The demon doll Annabelle is just the first one. The demon nun Valak, whom we met in "Conjuring 2" (2016), will have her own solo film as well in 2018.

In 1943, doll maker Samuel Mullins made limited edition hand-made dolls. He gave the first one to his daughter Annabelle, who unfortunately did not live too long. 12 years later, the Mullins decided to open their big house to a group of six orphan girls and their guardian Sister Charlotte. One of the girls, Janice, had a gimp leg because of polio. Her limited mobility and weakness made her an easy target for the demon in Annabelle's doll who was in search of a human host.

Of the girls who played the orphans, two stood out and were given a different room from the other older girls. These were 15 year old Talitha Bateman, who played the crippled Janice, and 11-year old Lulu Wilson, who played Janice's best friend Linda. Bateman had the challenge of playing a character who could not resist nor fight the demon's call. Wilson's scene at the well was scary despite being a variant of old cliches. 

Anthony LaPaglia who played Mr. Mullins was the gruff unfriendly type of old man, made me wonder why they even offered their place to the orphans if he behaved like this. Miranda Otto who played Esther Mullin hid her graciousness from the girls for most of the film because of her mysterious illness that left her weak and bedridden. She had a bell to call for help, and of course this bell would also be an instrument for horror. Her cruel death scene defined the word ghastly.

Latino actress Stephanie Sigman was first known to me as one of the sexy ladies in the last James Bond film "Spectre" (2015). Here she played Sister Charlotte, who had an interesting past experience in an abbey of cloistered nuns in Romania. Does this sound like a clue for a coming film about a certain notorious nun? Do stay for the extra scene at the end of the closing credits to confirm this suspicion.

The production design of that Mullins house was a collection of various horror devices such as a chair lift, a scarecrow, a very deep well, a dumbwaiter, a porcelain face mask, and of course, the main star -- the ugly and ever-creepy Annabelle doll with those crazy dilated eyes. If "The Conjuring" had the sinister "Hide and Clap" game, this one had a similiarly unsettling "Hiding with Notes" game. 

This film really had a lot of effective jump scares that really gave me a good jolt out of my comfy theater chair. The theater I watched this in was equipped with Atmos sound system which really made the horror score and sound effects all the more eerie and startling. The sound effects that accompanied those creaking house parts and breaking body parts made chills run up and down my spine. 

This was one good horror flick. This was great fun to just curl up and have a good time scaring yourself. 7/10.

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