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Annabelle: Creation

Opening Date
09 Aug 2017
NC16 Horror
109 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Horror, Thriller
David F. Sandberg
Miranda Otto, Javier Botet, Stephanie Sigman
In “Annabelle: Creation,” several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a doll maker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home.  They soon become the target of the doll maker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
By Joshua Ng  10 Aug 2017
Besides the usual jump scares, Annabelle: Creation explore new ground in the franchise in its experimentation with body horror. Body parts, both human and inhuman, are disfigured and contorted in violent and unsettling ways.
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Annabelle: Creation, the prequel to 2014’s Annabelle and the latest entry in The Conjuring’s growing cinematic universe, borrows from the best parts of the Conjuring films without sharing their burden of having to create a franchise. The result is a lean, focused survival thriller with memorable emotions and forgettable characters.
Set entirely in a remote farmhouse and its surrounding fields, Annabelle: Creation sticks closely to the haunted house formula that trademarked The Conjuring and its sequel. The film opens with a grim prologue featuring Annabelle’s creation at the hands of doll maker and doting father Samuel Mullins. Following a tragic accident, the film jumps 12 years ahead to see Mullins and his now-bedridden wife welcoming 6 orphans into their home, along with their caretaker Sister Charlotte. Then the story really begins.
As we get to know the girls, we soon realise most of them are just interchangeable fodder because we really only get to know two of them, Janice and Linda, portrayed by Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson respectively in terrific performances that anchor our attention, despite the uneven and weak characterisations of the other sisters.
And that’s okay. Annabelle: Creation isn’t a masterclass on character-building. Characters here act like every other horror movie character - they see a dark room and run into it headfirst. Then they do it again. Check all rational decision-making at the door of the cinema if you want to enjoy this film because it’s genuinely pretty entertaining. After all, part of the joy in horror cinema is cringing at the characters’ actions but still rooting for them to survive. In fact, I found that the rationality of Annabelle’s forgettable protagonists dulled its excitement by a fair bit. Thankfully, Annabelle: Creation has gone back to the very roots of horror cinema by reintroducing gullible curious characters.
At its core, this film is just The Conjuring 2 by a different name; you get the same frightened children, a helpless mother figure and a demon, all wrapped in a lonesome, labyrinthine house. If you loved The Conjuring series, this is your film.
Where Annabelle: Creation differs is the palpable absence of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the demonologist heroes of The Conjuring series. Their absence manifests in a hopelessness that is further emphasised when the demon demonstrates an apparent immunity to the Christian symbols that worked so well in previous films. It’s a masterstroke that shifts the audience expectation from one of victory (as in the Conjuring films) to one of survival.
This subtle tonal shift is just one of many expertly crafted by director David F. Sandberg. The film is rife with moments of levity in the most unexpected situations, such as when Linda takes the time to push Annabelle’s freaky face away, all while being stalked by the demon. These moments sound tacky on paper, which makes their execution all the more remarkable. The comedy complements the horror and it is clear Sandberg has crafted this film not merely to scare, but to entertain.
But horror buffs need not fear; this film has its share of scares. Besides the usual jump scares, Annabelle: Creation explore new ground in the franchise in its experimentation with body horror. Body parts, both human and inhuman, are disfigured and contorted in violent and unsettling ways.
Annabelle: Creation is the origin story that Annabelle should have been. Thankfully, you need no prior knowledge to partake in the primal horrors and thrills on display here, though the film does have surprises in store for fans of the series. (My favourite: the Nun of Conjuring 2 cameos in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment) Stay until the end for a post-credits scene that teases the next instalment in the Conjuring Universe! (yes that’s actually the name)
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Trailers / Videos
Official Trailer #2
Trailer #2

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