Annabelle: Creation; Review
A strong, scary, unnerving and exceptional step up from the first 'Annabelle' inspired spin-off.
A solid, and fitting, addition to the Conjuring Universe
The first spin-off from the Conjuring movies was Annabelle, and it was not that good; dumb characters, too many obvious scares approaching and an overall lack of real fear in my opinion. There were some good scenes, but far too few of them. This prequel of that prequel is a vast improvement. Likely due to the director, who also did 'Lights Out' and a strong cast of child actors, one of whom was from the equally good improvement over its previous, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and elder actors also.
The sound design of this movie really, really got under my skin. One thing I really have to give praise for was the lack of annoying background music. In some horror movies, they feel the need to add slight music to scenes that do not really warrant it, such as exploration at night in a creepy room. The lack of that in this movie was brilliant. I feel as though no music makes the whole situation actually more intense, tension building and scary. But when the sound is used, my god is it effective. I can not get the sound of the Demon (who is pretty much Satan) out of my head...nor can I remove the image of its eyes........brilliant cinematography and sound design in unison here really helped deliver this.
The characters are emotionally engaging and I found myself really connecting with them. The two main orphaned girls are brilliantly acted and I was invested in their relationship, so when the real stuff started to go down, I found myself rooting for them and hoped for them to be alright. Unlike Annabelle, where, in all honesty, I could not really care less about the characters involved, aside perhaps the woman who comes to help out the parents towards the third act. Within this movie, I did not feel as though there were any characters who bogged down the story or who did not portray their written character poorly. Strong efforts all round.
Overall, there is a lot of good here. Some very effective scares and excellent tension building aided by the lack of music, cinematography is excellent and the direction really helped elevate this movie. There are some scenes that are well and truly engraved into my subconscious. Two scenes in particular, one involving the man of the house confronting the evil with a cross and the first real glimpse of the Devil......brilliant but terrifying. There is also a great scene involving the main girl under the staircase that was horrendously unnerving, anytime the girls where in the barn in the second and third act was creepy as all hell...there were a lot of very, very good scenes.
There were one too many false jump scares during the first act. The usual quiet scene with someone wondering around the house and then a loud jolt of music as someone opens a door. Although they were there, they did not detract from the overall movie, due to its design, sound design, acting and so on. To be honest, there is very little bad about this movie. I felt that overall, it was a very good horror movie.
Overall, this is a stellar addition to the Conjuring Universe, with a sneaky little nod to 'The Nun' within it, which I thought was excellent, and perhaps hints at where 'The Nun' will be located. The Conjuring Universe stumbled with the first Annabelle spin off, however, this one well and truly restores the fear, the tension and excellence back into this, frankly, wonderful universe. And I can not wait to see where it goes next.