Starring: Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson, Anthony Lapaglia
Director: David F. Sandberg
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Rating: R for Stress-Induced Laughter and Some Gore
Release Date: August 11, 2017
At this point, almost everyone is aware of Annabelle, the murderous doll who made her debut appearance in the wonderful The Conjuring, which allowed her to continue her homicidal spree in the disappointing spinoff Annabelle. Well, she’s back to kill another day in the not-so-subtly titled prequel Annabelle: Creation.
Besides its very mundane title, Creation is also a very mundane movie. The story begins with a family in 1940s middle America led by a well-lauded, artisanal doll-maker named Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia). His only daughter is killed in a tragic car accident after church, leaving Mrs. Mullins bed-ridden and disfigured and Mr. Mullins really weird. Twelve years after the accident, the toymaker and his wife inexplicably turn their home—which has aged approximately 120 years and lost an ominous amount of paint—into an orphanage for young girls. A bus full of orphans arrives, complete with an Irish priest and a very attractive nun, Father Massey and Sister Charlotte (played by Mark Bramhall and Stephanie Sigman), and Annabelle has a host of new potential victims.
Our two main orphans are Janice and Linda (played by Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson). Janice was left with a bum leg after contracting polio, and both don’t quite fit in with the other cooler orphans. As they settle into their new home, they begin exploring the off-limit areas, such as the Mullins’ deceased daughter’s bedroom, only to eventually discover and release Annabelle onto the world. From there the film is much the same as you’d expect, plenty of startling flashes and sounds and murder.
It’s clear at this point that Annabelle knows what Annabelle is. It’s hard to be serious about a possessed, murderous doll; Chucky and his bride took care of that. There are visual and verbal jokes throughout that bring awareness to its ridiculous subject. (The theatre I was in erupted in laughter each time Annabelle appeared on screen, a dual concession of Shit, something scary is coming and This movie is silly.) There’s plenty of reasons to jump, but not much story. The mythology is lacking in depth, the plot is filled with holes, and the acting doesn’t help anyone. It’s a fun ride, but Annabelle: Creation is only slightly better than its terrible predecessor and nowhere near the caliber of The Conjuring.
Annabelle: Creation is Recommended If You Like: Annabelle but you shouldn’t like Annabelle, Chucky but want something less funny.
Grade: 2 out of 5 Hot Nuns