By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
from director David F. Sandberg
(“Lights Out”) and producer James Wan
(“The Conjuring” “Annabelle”) is a thoroughly enjoyable and terrifying horror film.
It’s the prequel to “Annabelle,” which was the prequel of “The Conjuring.” But no reason to get caught up in the prequel/sequel stuff. All you really need to know is “Annabelle: Creation” is good, creepy good.
It’s easy to convince yourself that this is just a movie, but wait until you get home, climb into bed and turn out the lights. Bet money, if that sinister, demonic doll Annabelle doesn’t haunt your dreams.
Screenwriter Gary Dauberman (“Annabelle”) slowly lays out this effective and nerve-racking thriller and cleverly ties it all into “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” series.
In “Annabelle Creation” we first meet the churchgoing Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia, TV’s “The Code”), a well to do dollmaker along with his lovely wife Esther (Miranda Otto, TV’s “24: Legacy”) and their seven-year-old daughter Bee (Samara Lee, “Concussion”).
However, Bee’s life is tragically cut short and now Samuel and Esther are still struggling with the devastating loss more than a decade later.
Their big, stately home where little Bee used to play hide-and-seek, is far too quiet now. So, they decide to open it to six orphan girls and a nun, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman, TV’s “Narco” and upcoming “S.W.A.T.”).
The young girls have free reign of the house except for one room which is locked and completely off limits.
Could the evil Annabelle be lurking inside this dark room and looking to claim her next victims?
As soon as it seems the girls are going to adapt to their spacious digs, things not only start going bump in the night, but get straight up weird even during the day.
When several of the many crosses and religious symbols scattered all over the Mullin’s home suddenly go topsy-turvy, you know all hell is about to break loose.
Bearing much of the brunt of Annabelle’s wrath is the young orphan, Janice (an excellent, Talitha Bateman, “The 5th Wave”), who is a victim of polio and wears a leg brace. Her best friend Linda (another star turn for Lulu Wilson, “Ouija: Origin of Evil”) tries to tell everyone early on that something isn’t right about the house and they need to get out of it fast.
No horror movie is without its share of jump scares and there are plenty to be had in “Annabelle: Creation.” But Wan and Sandberg are masters of this genre.
The scares don’t come gratuitously and are well-earned. They know how to maximum mood and atmosphere and deliver some incredibly smart and suspenseful moments here.
But wait, there’s more. Be sure to stay for the end credits to see just where this fright fest is headed. You'll be glad you did.
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Watch This Trailer For "ANNABELLE: CREATION"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.