In Annabelle: Creation, a doll maker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (Miranda Otto)–who lost their only daughter in a tragic accident–take in a group of girls whose orphanage has closed its doors. But with a malevolent presence lurking in the home, no one is safe.
Director David F. Sandberg once called this follow up effort “The Godfather II of creepy doll movies” in an interview with BD. I suppose that if he meant it’s arguably better than the original, he’s got a point. But Annabelle: Creation is no Godfather II. The improvement over the original is marginal at best. I came away from this film feeling like I’d just watched a collection of tropes and cliches that worked much better in the films from which they were derived.
Annabelle: Creation is riddled with well worn conventions like the doll disappearing only to reappear somewhere ‘unexpected’, cars that won’t start when you need them most, and my personal least favorite, a character getting dragged down the hallway by a malevolent force. And it’s as if Sandberg expects us to be blown away by the unpredictability of what we’ve just seen, when in reality, almost every sequence in the film feels like it was heavily inspired by other, better offerings.
There are plenty of jump scares throughout the course of the film’s runtime but none of them did anything for me. Nothing was unexpected or all that startling. All in all, Annabelle: Creation felt lazy and sorely lacking any kind of originality.
Many of the film’s shortcomings can be attribute to Gary Dauberman’s (Annabelle) screenplay. His characters are two-dimensional and underdeveloped. None of them are all that interesting and their motivations are often preposterous. For Christ’s sake, who invites a group of possess-able souls into their home when they know there is an evil entity just waiting to be unleashed? That’s such a selfish and misguided decision. It makes the doll maker and his wife almost instantly impossible to like or understand.
With that said, the performances are not bad. The characters aren’t all that likable and the writing is a mess. But the performers are not to blame. They’ve clearly done the best they could with what they were given.
There are a couple of almost decent FX sequences but they are ultimately ruined by an over reliance on CGI. The finger breaking scene immediately comes to mind. Almost all of the effects work looks much too crisp and that leads to a lack of believability.
The home video release does contain some noteworthy special features. Among them are the shorts that inspired Annabelle: Creation, deleted scenes, featurettes, and director’s commentary.
I would suggest taking a pass on this one. But if you are keen to check it out, Annabelle: Creation is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DigitalHD.
WICKED RATING: 4/10
Director(s): David F. Sandberg
Writer(s): Gary Dauberman
Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, and Lulu Wilson
Release Date: October 24, 2017 (DVD and Blu)
Studio/ Production Co: Atomic Monster, New Line, Warner Brothers
Budget: $15 Million
Sub-Genre: Possession, Killer Dolls
You can read our own Brian Walton’s report from the set of Annabelle: Creation right here.