When a dollmaker and his wife welcome a group of orphaned girls into their home, a frightening presence quickly makes itself known. A presence that has latched itself onto a doll from the couples emotional past. Annabelle: Creation is a horrifying prequel that explores the demonic dolls origins. Once again bringing together the team behind horror franchises Insidious and The Conjuring, further expanding their supernatural universe.
Twelve years after losing their young daughter in a terrible accident, Samuel and Esther Mullins welcome Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and her orphaned girls after the closing of their orphanage. Although beridden, Esther hopes to finally regain some normalcy in their lives after their tragic loss.
Biological sisters Linda and Nancy are often left out by the other girls, with Nancy struggling from the effects of Polio. All the while they dream of a day when they can be adopted together. As they begin to settle in, their charming new residence is also housing a malevolent doll. When young Nancy (Philippa Coulthard) curiously discovers the doll, made in the likeness of the Mullins deceased daughter, she has no idea what entity she has just unleashed. One that will leave them all fearing for their safety.
Director David F. Sandberg, of last years hit Lights Out, takes on the origin story of Annabelle in only his second theatrical directing effort. Just as his previous film, Sandberg perfectly utilizes the aspect of darkness to leave the audience with a constant sense of unsettle. Proving you don’t always have to see the horrors to induce a spine-tingling reaction. In some way, the darkness of this film, and the secluded nature of the location, improves on the initial story of Annabelle. While the first film is undoubtedly a spooky flick, it is much brighter visually, sometimes effecting the tone.
With Annabelle: Creation, the doll is often seen in peaks of spotlight, very rarely making a fully lighted appearance. The vacant stare of the doll is only heightened by the fact that your eyes play tricks between the shadows. And just as its predecessor, the doll is often motionless, with movements highlighted by camera cuts. The subtleness in many of the scares is what makes these two films so enjoyable. Most impressively, Sandberg and his team were able to come up with unique frights that will send shocks through your body. So many fresh and exciting new ways to stir up jumps and screams by viewers. It will leave you sinking into your seat.
In this film, the cast is a great improvement from the couple in the first. Not to say they were at all bad. However, you’re given a bigger cast with more room for scares in this movie. It’s full of young, new talent, including Lulu Wilson, who you’ll recognize from Ouija: Origin of Evil. She is such a breathe of fresh air in all the torment and the young actress is quickly making a name for herself in the horror industry.
While you grow to care for the orphaned girls, there isn’t an overwhelming sense of exposition. Time is not spent telling the history of each one, or even much about their caretaker, Sister Charlotte. Although there is a wonderful connection to another James Wan produced spin-off that audiences are sure to love.
Now for the elephant in the room – How can this be a prequel? I, like many others, sort of scratched my head at the notion of a prequel to 2014’s Annabelle. After all, we saw everything we needed to see in the first one. Wasn’t that the origin story?
Saying anything regarding the links between the two films would be instant spoiler territory and you would never forgive me. What I will say is to have faith in Sandberg and producer James Wan. It’s perhaps one of the most exciting connective twists I’ve seen in a horror film.
Annabelle: Creation hits theaters August 11th
On another note, don’t miss your chance to win my Annabelle Giveaway! Head over to that post to learn all the details on how to enter. The contest will end on the films release date.