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Annabelle Creation Review (2017) | David F. Sandberg Revives Annabelle

Remember 2014’s pathetic spin-off? A lot of people thought Annabelle was doomed until David F. Sandberg was roped in for Annabelle Creation. Sandberg’s first big break (big screen debut) happened with last year’s Lights Out. It was a pretty good flick that marked him as one of the good ones in horror genre. With him standing on the pedestal to helm a movie from The Conjuring universe it was already intriguing per se. The good news is, he delivers!

It is like when someone cooks something really bad, and you step up to add the right spices and condiments to turn it into something delectable. That’s what happened with Annabelle too. John R. Leonetti (the director of the first one) had made sure with his bland depiction that a reboot was necessary to resuscitate the doll. Gary Dauberman and David F. Sandberg together rescue it making it a movie worth watching. With the movie’s success, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that The Conjuring universe is back on track with only one sour movie on its list. But Annabelle Creation doesn’t let us forget that taste.

Read on and you will find out.

The Direction of Annabelle Creation Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

The doll had potential and we knew it. How scary it looks, right? Also, the fact that it keeps moving all by itself around the house, and comes back if dumped makes it a pretty horrifying affair. David F. Sandberg makes sure that the doll is identified for its true petrifying theme. He was already great with creating suspenseful scenes, and he uses them aplenty, gradually building up for a scare.

still from Annabelle Creation Movie

Sandberg’s camera movements stand corrected as good if not great. But they are pretty good for a horror movie. You do miss James Wan‘s amazing continuous shots at one point. Some of the scenes where the backdrop was left unfocused were simply ravishing to watch.

Sandberg and Dauberman choose to merge the story eventually with the events and happenings of the first which was a pretty smart move. It is even great for the marketing of the first. Annabelle Creation being the prequel saves a sequel, and all its future runs too. It was a calculated move.

Plot of Annabelle: Creation

To plot the plot concisely, we see how it all started first here. A doll is being created by a doll maker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) marking it as a single piece before wrapping it up in a box. The Mullins have a daughter named Bee (Samara Lee) who ends up getting killed in a freak car accident. 12 years later we see a group of six girls and a Sister being provided an abode by the Mullins after their orphanage gets closed.

There is a secret they unveil in the form of a demon who has been invited by the Mullins to stay marred by the grief of their dead daughter. It is tied to the doll and kept locked inside a closet until Janice, one of the crippled girls, goes prying into the room and ends up unleashing hell.

What follows is an insane terrifying joyride of happenings around the house that upends the lives of all those living in the house. The most affected are Janice and Linda.

Some Obvious Issues

The only problem with Sandberg’s direction and probably some of Gary Dauberman’s writing is that he doesn’t pay attention to natural courses. For instance, what would you do when you have had a frightening scary experience? Will you once again venture there? Sadly characters in the movie keep on doing so, even though they had their hearts in their mouths.

When you see something frightening going on, you break all hell loose and look for solutions first. You don’t go venturing in there every night. Annabelle Creation oversees this apparent fact and keeps terrorizing you with scary scenes one after the other. They are all great scenes by the way and spook you out aplenty. But the contrivance kicks in when you know in your head what reaction you want the character to be giving, and how artificial they end up becoming when the story demands them to visit a horrific place all over again. That’s probably the thing that shouldn’t have been overlooked.

The Creepiness

There are plenty of creepy factors Annabelle: Creation houses and they exploit them properly too. Right from the spooky scarecrow to Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto) the demon exploits every possible scary element in the huge house of the Mullins, and the scenes are written in brilliant gore too. You will have your heart pounding like crazy every now and then.

Only when you begin to see the actual demon, as you saw in the first installment of Annabelle, the horrific quotient begins to decline gradually. Horror emanates from something you don’t understand well but when you actually begin to see it, things suddenly begin to not affect you as much.

That being said you will personally feel the movie to be not as scary as The Conjuring movies were. But it has its moments.

You can order the movie from here:

Characters and Acting

On the acting front, all the actors have acted really well. But the actor you remember the most is Talitha Eliana Bateman who plays Janice. She wears her expressions pretty well at the same time makes you feel sorry for her. Then there is Lulu Wilson who plays Linda in the movie and you can’t overlook her either. She nails close encounters.

Lulu Wilson as Linda in Annabelle Creation

You once again see Sandberg’s wife Lotta Losten in this movie which I think was totally dispensable. Her inclusion only confuses people more, as some might start to tack her character against Lights Out. I really hope Sandberg should avoid doing a Shyamalan and choose to be more subtle and careful with his upcoming projects.

The Final Verdict

Annabelle: Creation is a good horror flick. It saves the infamous doll from drowning and makes a strong statement about Annabelle’s resurrection into the horror world. It exploits it brilliantly giving the demon of the flick a second chance.

Even though the movie has a lot of flaws and issues which I am pretty sure will be overcome in future parts, it stands as a pretty decent horror flick all by itself. It retains ample chilly moments to keep you jumping on your seat. Another great addition to the horror genre!

Sandberg is here to stay.

Check out the trailer of Annabelle Creation here:

Lights Out Review (2016) | Intriguing and Appalling

Lights Out has everything you wish to see in a horror movie. But there are instants herein that stop it from reaching petrifying levels of a great riveting horror flick. It doesn’t retain the flair of a slow paced scare. However, within its nimble charisma lies its true heart throbbing dread. Also, Alexander DiPersia is a pleasant discovery in the movie. He encounters its ghost in the most thrilling setup ever.

Plot of Lights Out

The video project of the same name that had gone viral three years ago, has been finally moulded into an artistic piece. Augmenting it further is a thrilling story to tell an imaginative tale that walks on a thin edge of palpability. Still the magic works!

After making a series of shorts, David F. Sandberg finally gets a fully-fledged project under the aegis of James Wan. What’s reassuring is that he delivers too. He includes Lotta Losten to the tale giving her a cameo of sorts, trying to revive the lost lights out video and then furthers the tale with new elements.

Still of Lotta Losten as Esther in Lights Out Movie

Direction of Lights Out Movie

David F. Sandberg’s inexperience transpires at a lot of junctions, wherein you could point, “He didn’t think this through!” It is like you can almost taste the lack of percipience in his work. There is passion in his job alright, the love for horror so loud and clear, that you can find it lurking at weird corners. But there is always a sense of thoughtful trepidation missing from his cinema that seemed to have primped down his work into a mere 1 hour 21 minute affair.

You can feel as if he was on a constant canter to reach the end. Maybe the short in him will take some time to wear off. Even though his direction barely reached the levels of horror veterans, he still manages to weave out something above mediocrity, and that is what counts.

Characters (Spoilers in the Dark Ahead)

Sandberg’s entry into the horror world receives three cheers from people all across the globe, owing to his unpredictability. He breaks horror clichés in many ways.

still of alexander dipersia as Bret in lights out movie

Alexander DiPersia as Bret Owns it

The first coming straight from a character like Bret. Alexander DiPersia who plays boyfriend to Rebecca, cannot be simply ignored. Breaking banality profusely the character fits like a rare gem in the movie. He isn’t a hero exactly, and yet he survives Diana’s attack on three occasions with sheer presence of mind. We generally tend to think boyfriends die first, because they are not important to the tale, but Sandberg decides to break the chains of platitude by keeping Bret alive and breathing. Within his limited screen-time, Alexander DiPersia delivers too.

There is this rare moment where Alexander DiPersia’s Bret is almost a dead guy, and yet he revives himself twice or thrice with his sheer presence of mind. Watch out for that bit!

Teresa Palmer’s Rebecca

The second most important character is that of Rebecca played by Teresa Palmer. She has this constant confident mien that she wears like a pro at odd hours. The only problem is that she condescends and patronizes Bret beyond limit, so much that you begin to wonder why Bret’s with her in the first place. Yet she packs in an uncommon poise that seems to fill you up with pluck too.

Still of Rebecca and Martin in Lights Out movie

Others

Martin, played by Gabriel Bateman, her brother isn’t a wuss either. He is scared, terrified, but he always comes around. He has peerless tricks in his pockets that he comes up with to stay safe.

Billy Burke has a small cameo too in the prologue of Lights Out Movie.

Shortcomings

Apart from the directorial issues Lights Out had, there were other things that don’t go ignored either. Screenplay of the movie was terrible. At one point Martin drops a truism as if it was jostled out with originality. It seemed kind of stupid and forced needless to say.

When Rebecca is engaged in a face-off with Diana, she asks Bret to take Martin away. But when there’s a gunshot you see Bret still holding onto Martin unperturbed by what’s going on in the house. There was a gunshot for crying out loud. Why didn’t he come up with dozens of searchlights, or even better if he was short on time, light up the car lights and point it towards the house so there was at least some light that could save the inmates.

Still of Diana clawing raking and scratching the floor in lights out movie

Another question that miffs you is how come Diana plays with lights sometimes moulding them to her will, and then sometimes forgets to switch them off. The constant disconnect in the plot like that makes Lights Out like a sieve of implausibility.

Also, you cannot completely overlook the fact that despite knowing that Diana is in the house, characters give in to sleeping in the house with Sophie. They were all so unprepared even though they knew the truth. That was a tad too much.

The Final Verdict

Darkness has forever intrigued us. There is something about its still aura that has us questioning us our sanity. A topic that will forever haunt us, just by its sheer fancy. David F. Sandberg milks the fact enough. I am afraid, not properly but he still manages to fabricate us a good horror flick.

If we don’t look in the direction of the downside-darkness of the Lights Out movie we still have something that is way above thousands of pointless horror movies. To that we nod him welcome.

A must-watch horror fans.

Check out the trailer of Lights Out movie here: