It’s the prequel nobody asked for, to the prequel nobody asked for – but, Annabelle: Creation is nowhere near as bad as you might have expected. In fact, it’s actually quite good.
After the last lackluster prequel, director David Sandberg has been brought in to try and salvage the franchise – a spinoff from the hugely successful Conjuring series. Sandberg is best known for helming last year’s surprise hit, Lights Out, and his touch is very visible throughout Creation.
Like The Conjuring franchise, Creation is very inventive in its scares. However, unlike The Conjuring franchise, it is a lot more derivative in its plot. The film is set 12 years after a doll-maker and his wife lose their young daughter in an accident. They open their home to a nun and several girls from an orphanage that has been closed. Unfortunately for them, and unsurprisingly for us, one of the doll-maker’s creations doesn’t want them staying around. It’s all been done before, and nothing particularly surprising happens.
However, while Creation is somewhat lacking in a strong story (some moments were unintentionally laughable) it succeeds well in generating a creepy atmosphere and giving us some excellent set pieces. Obviously, there are a host of jump scares which do their job – but the best moments were less explicit. Whether it’s a child’s toy, a scarecrow or a record player, Creation manages to wring the best scares out of the ordinary, and with little special effects required. It was fun to see it all play out, even if the ending was a little bit of a letdown.
Creation does little to add to the multitude of horror fare being pumped out of Hollywood and owes itself to earlier classics. But as a standalone, Annabelle: Creation is better than pretty much anyone would have expected, managing to show that spin-offs to horrors aren’t always bad, and demonstrating once again that creepy dolls are still creepy.
Reviewed by Stewart Sowman-Lund.