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Annabelle: Creation movie review – Has the Conjuring franchise lost its scare-factor?

Ranjan Crasta | Updated on: 16 August 2017, 22:44 IST

The latest iteration of The Conjuring franchise, Annabelle: Creations is a thoroughly predictable flick follows the horror cliche guidebook to a T.

Filled with every scare tactic you've seen in every other horror movie, the movie squeezes the possessed doll trope for every drop of juice it has left. Thankfully, the concept still has enough in the tank to carry this movie comfortably into horror movie mediocrity. However, with absolutely nothing new in the tank, it will disappoint seasoned horror movie buffs.

The plot

Over a decade after losing their daughter in an accident, the Mullins open their home up to a group of orphan girls and their caretaker - Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman).

However, the girls soon find out that the Mullins have a secret. While the stern husband Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) warns them to stay away from one particular room, his wife (Miranda Otto) is a recluse, confined to her bed.

The girls however, do not follow Samuel's warning, setting in motion a lot of predictable spookiness.

Rushed and clumsy

The movie isn't imaginative, and therefore doesn't really scare or impress. However, this lack of originality at least keeps the film from being terrible.

Tipping the scales further in the direction of disappointment however, is the pacing and character development in the movie. The movie wants to get from point A to point B, with precious little concern for how it gets there.

As such, characters, both living and dead, behave erratically and illogically -- veering from fear to foolish nonchalance within the span of a minute, thus seeming rushed and forced.

In fact, an honest summary of the movie would be 'Group of ungrateful orphan girls trespass and get what they deserve.’ Nothing more, nothing less. The girls do not behave a certain way because they are playing character. Instead, they do things solely to set-up cliched scary scenes, or clumsily advance the plot. The same goes for Charlotte and the Mullins.

The movie’s desperate need to scare means that it sacrifices real horror for a series of loud jump scares. A true atmosphere of horror is never created, with every successive scare becoming more predictable than its predecessor. Thus, the movie's climax comes across far more muted than the early build up.

A disappointing end

Not happy with merely tying up the loose ends in an already scattered film, the movie's creators awkwardly tack on an ending to both connect the movie to the original franchise, as well as to set-up yet another film in the franchise.

This strange and hurried stumble across the finish line undoes whatever little effect the movie may have managed, with the audience leaving on a low. The use of a post-credits scene also falls flat as a result, because one botched ending doesn't inspire hope that there's anything better to come.

Should you see it?

The horror genre is horrifically under-served, thus, if you just miss horror movies, you could do worse than this.

However, I'd suggest waiting a little longer for the release of It, a movie which looks set to blow Annabelle: Creation out of the water.

Rating: 2.5/5

First published: 16 August 2017, 22:42 IST