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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:

Before I Wake Review (2016) | Delve into Mike Flanagan’s Beautiful Head

A fantastical whimsy! Before I Wake movie carries a beautiful concept that could have moulded it into a better flick if it were not for its flaws. Even so, what certainly can’t be ruled out is the movie’s amazing theme that brings us closer to the astounding power of imagination.

Mike Flanagan’s yet another horror venture packs in a fantastical story that has been well thought of when you pay attention to its profound concept. Dreams coming alive! A fancy world something only a beautiful mind could create. But the big question is how does it all pack in its fictitious capsule?

Adorable Jacob Tremblay

Jacob Tremblay is everywhere. His cuteness is a delight to watch. He walks in with a confident mien to deliver extraordinary cutesy bits that are both enthralling and adorable just like he happens to be in person. At the end of the day he is delivering, who’s complaining?

still of jacob tremblay reading a diary in before i wake movie

Plot of Before I Wake (Spoilers Ahead) | Thorough Analysis | Movie Explained

To begin with the main story I am assuming everyone is well aware about Cody’s uncanny imagination that brings everything he dreams to life. For the good things he is mostly dreaming butterflies and stuff. He is easily able to manifest living holograms (except that they turn real) of his dream. Whatever thoughts he has been fed before he goes to sleep comes brimming alive too. However, like any other dream, he doesn’t have much control over his thoughts. There is this ghastly element in the story that Cody calls the Cankerman that comes at unseen junctures. It often messes his dreams up, and since the horrifying element becomes a walking live projection too, it can mess with our world.

  • Jessie’s Instant Obsession

Jessie becomes obsessed with the powers of Cody and tries to bring her dead son Sean alive. But she isn’t aware about the Canker Man just yet. When she does meet it at one point, in a theatrical series of events, unfortunately Mark ends up paying the price. Mark is swallowed in by the Cankerman, right in front of her, as she passes out. Waking up she finds Cody being taken in by Child Protective Services once again. She is not allowed to meet him, so she steals Cody’s file in hopes to locate him.  It is then she meets Whelan Young, the first foster parent of Cody who has ended up in a mental hospital.

  • First Foster Parents

Whelan tells her about his havocking past, a similar story of Canker Man taking his wife away. And no matter what he did afterwards to bring her back to life, by showing Cody pictures of her, he could only manage to bring her impressions back. It is sorry to see him break down trying to reason:

“He was too young. He was too young to even remember her right.”

still of dash mihok as whelan holding her invisible wife in his hands

Whelan then suggests something horrible to her, killing Cody to stop his unrestrained killing. She turns him down immediately, and then leaves. She tries to find more about Cody’s real mother to figure out what could be the reason of Cody’s nightmares.

  • Tracking Down Cody’s Mother

Meanwhile Cody has been kept along with other children in a foster home. He isn’t deliberately going to sleep as he doesn’t wish anybody harm. So thoughtful a child! Natalie forces an injection of drowsiness on him to get him to sleep.

Jessie is able to get her hands on Cody’s mother’s stuff. There she finds a blue butterfly rag that expounds about his butterfly dreams. She also finds her journal where she finds out more about their relationship. Jessie cleverly finds out about the facility where Cody was held kept captive, and reaches there only to realize that Cody was asleep. (People were held captive in cocoons kind of things, so that gave away!)

  • Explaining Projections in the Foster Home

As she makes her way further in, she finds elements of Cody’s dreams widespread. There is one rare moment of Jessie’s thoughts that could have projected owing to the fact that she might have shared the dying of Sean incident with Cody. She finds the bathtub wherein Sean had drowned. The presentation there is quite spooky. She moves away knowing it was just a mere projection, and that she is supposed to help Cody.

Amongst other projections, she finds Cody in a room watching Sean drown on TV. She finds her own eyeless projection reaching out for him, and then twisting its head trying to deform Cody into looking like herself. A scene like that could have multiple meanings. I like to take away that to Cody, Jessie’s image was that of a selfish blind woman who was trying to manipulate his dreams into seeing what she wished to see. Thus blinding him from his original vision.  However, if there wasn’t a metaphor there, then I would say that character act doesn’t kind of fit there properly. And it could be deliberately put for mere theatrics. We do get a glimpse of an eyeless Mark again, which could be how Cody must have imagined him after his death which falls in place too.

  • The Final Showdown

Moving on she reaches the door behind which Cody was fast asleep. That’s where she encounters the Canker Man again. Just when it was about to consume her, she shows her the Blue Butterfly Toy Rag that Cody was so fond of as a kid.

Still of Canker Man from Before I Wake movie final scene

Now this reasoning kind of baffles you. You see the Canker Man was nothing but a projection of Cody. Its discernment of the Blue Butterfly could be only if Cody could see whatever Canker Man could. So all those wild acts that he did of killing people shouldn’t have actually happened if Cody had control over it.

  • Why the Canker Man had a Change of Heart?

With the appearance of a sharper memory like that of a Blue Butterfly from the past, Cody became confused, and that unpleasant nightmarish memory became a pleasant one, meaning Canker Man was defeated. However, this doesn’t mean Canker Man was killed for sure. Because there was no reasoning gavel put on him just yet. Also, I am pretty sure had Cody slept again right after that, even the Blue Butterfly wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Cankerman again.

We see Jessie hugging the Cankerman which was a pretty lame thing to do. Anyone would have freaked out, but I guess since she realized it was nothing but Cody’s memory, Jessie wished to bring the warmth of the past to him, and bestow upon him some motherly love. We see that horrifying projection change back to Cody and then disappear.

  • Aftermath

Aftermath culminating moments of Before I Wake, we find Jessie telling Cody about her mother. She gives him her journal to read and tells her what Cankerman really was. It was a surreal impression of his, about her mother Andrea Morgan when she was on her death bed. She was suffering from Cancer, and when she died Cody had himself believe that Cancer ate her mother. Which then as he grew up personified into an unpleasant idea of a man called Canker Man who went about killing people. It is a beautifully thought of revelation that is quite gratifying if you look at it.

In the end part of Before I Wake, whilst trying to tuck Cody in, Jessie tries to create a happy ending for all those people that were ensnared by Cody. She wishes everything undone,  but her thoughts are broken when Cody asks:

“Can those things happen?”

With all those crisp images of possibilities, you begin thinking if the dead are really coming back alive. But you realize that she was just putting out things for Cody to see. She believes in him that with time he could do wonderful things and that it is possible.

“You have an amazing gift. Who knows what can happen as it grows?”

Mike Flanagan in the end tries to justify what she said by going for a cheap shot. He shows Cody actually trying to create something from his mere thoughts, just by closing his eyes. I would say to that: “Too soon Mike! Too soon!”

Downsides to Before I Wake Movie

Before I Wake takes off beautifully right from the start. However there are elements that gnaw at it gradually stopping it from reaching a charming gleam.

The first one, I am afraid, is none other than Kate Bosworth’s character Jessie. To be really candid, we could have used a better cast here. Even though a tad distant, which was needed for her character, she appeared kind of absent emotionally, for parts where it mattered the most. Thomas Jane, au contraire, fits the bill just fine as Mark.

straight from a movie before i wake butterfly

The second crucial part of the flick was its tangibility. Even though we were wading deep into imaginary waters, you need something natural to give it a palpable feel. It is the natural things that surround it that help a flick get carved in a realistic format, something the movie lacked profusely. You are often forced to wonder, “Why is she not calling the police?” or “Why is she going there?” or “Where is everybody?” I don’t know why but the latter one seems to be a factor that every horror movie overlooks.

When you look at the scary quotient of the movie, it amasses plenty. There are many horrifying bits that are outright chilling. However, if you are trying to look at it as just a horror flick, then don’t. There is nothing here that will continue to haunt you for days. I surmise, it could also be because the movie doesn’t cash in on horror properly, and you could blame the surreal concept that it induces.

Screenplay has nothing remarkable to offer. Good scary movies consider this factor well, so it was a big downer there. Music is good actually. Danny Elfman and The Newton Brothers are the people behind Before I Wake’s score.

Other Things That Might Vex You

It is only after Before I wake reaches midway that it actually starts to dwindle. You find Jessie actually reaching out for shriveled dark enclaves fearlessly which makes you question how fearless she really is. You would have wimped out from that dreary situation or maybe called the police first, and maybe made it a universal thing for everybody to see.

For some I would say the final revelation might not have tingled their brains. It is because there was no reasoning to follow it up immediately. I am sure some must be wondering how an imaginative nightmarish creation could be stopped by a sheer memory glimpse. Throws you in a thoughtful territory for a second, which is actually quite good for your head. At least you are thinking!

The Final Verdict

Despite all it flaws, I would like to remember Before I Wake as what it truly is. A great concept and a beautiful shot at imagination. Unfortunately it steers toward a clouded zone owing to its shoddy direction, and some dubious questions that it leaves you with.

Check out the trailer of Before I Wake movie:

The Babadook Review (2014) | A beautiful metaphor | Stunning Direction

The Babadook isn’t exactly a horror movie. It is more of a mere reflection of it. Jennifer Kent’s movie depicts a character’s madding affair with grief through leaflets of terror. And it does in a way you have never come across before.

Yes, it is avant garde at its best!

The Babadook Movie Metaphor

If you have seen The Babadook recently and not scratching your head, you have only seen the superficial. What surrounds beautifully the obvious horror is actually far more intricate. It is really worth applauding the effort Jennifer Kent put in to hold something so profound, so gorgeously wrapped under the aegis of psychotic horror.

Essie Davis dons Amelia’s character so marvelously that it makes you feel the pain inside her eyes. You could read the grief in her character almost instantly.

Still of Essie Davis as Amelia in the Babadook a grieving mother

I have moved on. I don’t mention him. I don’t talk about him.

Plot Spoilers Lurking Ahead

The opening scene finds an accident. It is portrayed in a spectacular fashion, by showing the protagonist rotating inside a car. It was more like a thing in the past that prologue carried. Clearly she had been in an accident.

Amelia is then disturbed by the constant yammering of her six year old son Samuel. It is a peaceful dream of the mishap which Amelia wishes to see unperturbed, however gets objected by her son. It is like a reflection of chaos knocking at her door in the form of her son.

She hates him to the guts, and it is quite evident by the way she tries to ignore him. He was born the day her husband had died, the same wretched day of the accident.this again mentioned eventually when she admits that she wanted him dead instead of her husband. The hatred, nicely shown in two instances in the beginning itself when Samuel tries to cling on her, and she moves to the edge of the bed, and when he hugs her and she asks him not to do it again.

We spend a lot of time story building where we understand how Amelia’s life has succumbed to grief owing to the terrible misfortune. She is intertwined in her devastating misery.  And it is really sorry to see her that way. Essie Davis aces the grieving mother role to perfection.

still of the babadook ghost from the book

Direction of The Babadook

The direction of the movie is extremely subtle. Bits like the way the night would turn into the day, the moment Amelia would slip into her blankets, manifested how fast time flew by. Also, a nod to her life that always lacked proper sleep. It was iced further by the waking call from her son every single morning. You can easily tell it was killing her. She was annoyed by her son beyond limit. That’s what gives rise to her dark side. The dark side is none other than The Babadook himself, a figment of her child’s image that becomes real in her head. It is a subtly put metaphor to depict her dark image.

There are many clever references that hone the aforementioned analogy to perfection too. For instance there is a scene where Amelia finds a piece of glass in her food. Samuel says it was The Babadook who did it. She checks his bowl but doesn’t find any. The glass is an apt wink to her car accident, where glasses were shattered. It also insinuates how she would always clung on to those memories.

Another scene where Mrs. Roach shows up at her door with reassuring eyes compels Amelia to have a change of heart is also a reflection on how advices and social talks tend to be helpful for grieving people.

You can get The Babadook movie here:


The Final Part of The Babadook Movie Explained

We find horror in the form of a made-up stories by Amelia’s kid which she inadvertently starts living. The rogue part in her constantly overpowers her and she ends up hurting what’s left. However, eventually she overcomes her fears and says no to her past, (mister Babadook here) and starts loving her son. She celebrates her son’s first birthday thus paving way for happiness and love therefrom.

The movie ends up in utter contrast with the beginning: a smile on her face and love in her eyes.

Only for people who are willing to watch quality cinema which doesn’t skim mainstream!

Here’s the trailer of The Babadook movie: