ANNABELLE : CREATION Review
The latest film in The Conjuring Universe serves up endless jump scares but is so buried in the same old same old horror tropes that you get distracted by how senseless everyone in the film acts.
We get it. People in horror films make poor choices and they then lead to things that go bump in the night. Or rather, in the case of Annabelle : Creation, make a much louder noise after a few seconds of utter quiet. Why? Because why try something new when you can just hit the gag button over and over again.
That may seem harsh but I actually enjoyed most of the film. It lost me when major events happen to characters and the next morning it is barely spoken of, or is just pushed aside utterly so we can move on to the next set up for a repeat performance of scares that we just saw 5 minutes ago. I am not sure if this was a lack of creativity from director David Sandberg or a script that put him in a corner. The film starts off rather wonderfully but after an hour of getting the same beat delivered over and over, you start to lose interest. At one point, a body is mutilated, police are called, and then everyone just carries on with their day. No questions are raised as to HOW a body turns ashen grey with their fingers torn backwards. Why would they? Perhaps they just tripped on their way though a portal to hell? Happens all the time. Later, while escaping raging demons as one does, a group of folk consciously choose to run into a creepy barn. We know it's creepy because it was stated such earlier in the film. Then, while terrified, someone actually yells, "Into the barn!". Why? You are free to run up the road and away from hellscape. You were just about to do that exact thing in a car that, SHOCKER, would not start. Why are you going into a place that just a while ago you all deemed creepy and scary? There was an insurance commercial that parodied this exact stupidity recently. Once that happens, tuck that idea away forever.
The biggest scare that I felt took place in broad daylight while a questionable nurse figure helped a wheelchair along. It was a smart move too because it told the audience that you are not safe. Ever. Whether you are in the sun or pitch darkness. Issue is that further in the film, it makes a point of trying to leave a character in the dark by unscrewing light bulbs. The characters solution to this is borderline line laughable too. The film makes a statement, then reverses it by leaning on tired tropes. It undoes itself by these actions. More so because this film lay underneath the roof The Conjuring built and that film did a great job at not making its characters seem like dolts who only do things so we get ourselves into a scare zone.
The visuals are great throughout though. The camera is relatively calm and unobtrusive. It feels like a film in this "universe". It also seems like a very thin platform to hold up an intriguing tale. At only 109 minutes, it feels long. That should not happen.
Horror works best when you are attacked by the unknown and made to feel unsettled. If you do everything that has already been done and then when you break free, return to those shackles later, you are spinning your wheels. Annabelle is fine but it could have been great.