Annabelle: Creation – 2017
Synopsis : Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
David F. Sandberg’s 2017 addition to “The Conjuring” franchise “Annabelle: Creation”, introduces us to the Mullins family. A middle America, farm family, headed by “Samuel Mullins”. Samuel carves and creates dolls on the family farm in his workshed located on the same property. Mullins, played by Australian born actor Anthony LaPaglia, and his wife “Esther”, played by Mirando Otto, are struck with tragedy one fateful day as their daughter “Bee”, played Samara Lee is killed in an automobile accident.
12 years later, in an attempt to rekindle the joy of having children in their life, the Mullins accept a group of Orphans to reside on the farm. One of pre-teen orphans, “Janice” played by actress Talitha Bateman and her best friend “Linda”, played by Lulu Wilson, share a very unique bond. Janice is stricken with polio, walks with crutches and has a tough time fitting in with the rest of the girls in all facets of life. Lulu acts as her support as Janice battles through these tough times. As Janice and Linda explore and discover new areas of the home and the farm, they start to realize that something is not on the level at the Mullins estate. The most perplexing is the Mullins’ deceased daughters bedroom, which is always kept locked and is forbidden to be entered by anyone.
On the first night at the Mullins’, Janice discovers that Bee’s bedroom door is inexplicably unlocked. Being the adventurous tween girl that she is, Janice struggles with her crutches to explore the bedroom. As Janice opens up a doll house in the room, she finds a key. A key that she uses to open a closet door, where she discovers….you guessed it…The Annabelle doll. This starts a chain of creepy happenings that affect all of the girls at the house. Mrs. Mullins disfigured face becomes something of a puzzling folklore with the children, and we learn that shortly after the passing of Bee, the Mullins started seeing signs that they were not alone. They even started hearing a little girl playing in the house and seeing images of their deceased daughter. They eventually started communicating with this presence, which claimed to be their little girl. The presence asked permission to use the doll as a conduit and stay with them forever. The Mullins obliged and gave the presence permission to stay within the doll. At first, this comforted the Mullins to know that their little girl had come home. However upon further review, they realized that this was not in fact their daughter Bee, but something much, much worse.
The Mullins were able to confine the doll to the closet in their daughters room. They posted religious artifacts around the closet to keep the demon at bay. However, Janice’s decision to open that door, let the demons out of the closet so to speak. The girl’s chaperone, “Sister Charlotte”, played by Stephanie Sigman is mostly oblivious to the girls recent findings and she has several girls to keep account of, but by the third act is all too aware of the supernatural happenings at the Mullins residence. The good sister leads a fight against the demon in hopes to bring the girls to safety, and end this all out nightmare situation they have found themselves in.
Annabelle: Creation relies on jump scares and creepy imagery to get the audience frightened, and I must admit it does a fine job at that. There’s more than a few scenes that are genuinely disturbing and scary as hell. I don’t know what it is about dolls and clowns, but they have the average person completely terrified when done correctly. Where Annabelle: Creation fails, is in it’s character’s logic and decision making. It’s hard not to roll your eyes at some of the stupid decisions these people are making throughout the film. Also, it is puzzling as to why Janice’s screams can be heard or not heard at any point in the film. Perhaps the other children have selective hearing. Talitha Bateman is exceptional as young “Janice”. and is able to pull off both protagonist and antagonist quite well. Anthony LaPaglia is fine as a disturbed and beaten Mr. Mullins. The rest of the supporting cast is adequate with exception of Lulu Wilson, who is great as the young, free spirited, and naive child that provides what little comic relief we have in this film. As with all of the Conjuring movies, I suggest seeing them opening night, with a full house in the theatre. The element of a crowd of people shitting themselves is always a sight to see. I give Annabelle: Creation 6 out of 10 stars.