Annabelle: Creation

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MA 15+Annabelle: Creation

Director: David F. Sandberg

Produced by: Peter Safran, James Wan

Screenplay: Gary Dauberman

Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, Lou Lou Safran, Samara Lee, Tayler Buck, Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto.

Coming out of the cinema whistling, You are my Sunshine, after watching a horror movie may sound sinister, but there was a tongue-in-cheek, wry streak to, Annabelle: Creation.

Set in what looks like the 1930s, Samuel Mullins, a dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto) live an idyllic life in the countryside with their daughter Bee (Samara Lee), short for Annabelle.

Then tragedy strikes and Bee is taken from them.

Years later, time has taken its toll on the dollmaker and his wife, but they decide to make their home into an orphanage where several young girls and Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) come to live with them, to bring some happiness back into the household.

It only takes one night for the daemonic Being inhabiting a life-sized doll to make its presence known.  And slowly, the creation of Annabelle, the possessed, is revealed.

Annabelle: Creation

Producers, Peter Safran and James Wan, who brought, The Conjuring series have partnered up once again for, Annabelle: Creation.

Directing is David F. Sandberg (Lights Out (2016)) from a screenplay written by Gary Dauberman who also wrote the first, Annabelle.

Happily, for fans of, The Conjuring, there are threads tying pieces of the films together and the linking of, Creation to the original, Annabelle is seamless.

New to the franchise is the cast with, Anthony LaPaglia as the foreboding husband and, Miranda Otto as the wife.

I can’t decide whether I like Lulu Wilson as Linda who also had a starring role in the recent, Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016).  I liked her better here, with  direction highlighting her, too-good-it’s-creepy personality adding to that wry flavour.

There’s a fine line between comedy and horror.  You don’t want the audience laughing at the movie, you want the audience to laugh with the movie and at some points of the film, particularly with Linda on scene, it was a close call.Annabelle: Creation

But as the film progressed and the ramping of tension increased with Sandberg once again making use of light and darkness and classic devices such as super-freaky scarecrows and sheets over the, ‘not there’, I was happy for a bit of comic relief from young Linda.

But I have to admit I wanted the film to be scarier.

I felt there was a lighter touch here, compared to say, the recent, The Conjuring 2 (2016) (which I gave 4.5/5) as there wasn’t enough reason for the daemonic Being inhabiting the doll to attack some and not others.

Strengthening the backstory would have added so much more.

Sure, keep the mystery but showing more would have added to the fear – it can’t be just because one person is more physically weak than the others, right?

Not the super-scare factor I was hoping for, but there were a few jumps and tense moments with effective use of the soundtrack; and linking to the original, Annabelle and, The Conjuring series will satisfy fans.

Ouija: Origin of Evil

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MOuija: Origin of Evil

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writers: Mike Flanagan; Jeff Howard

Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas; Parker Mack.

Feeling weary after a heavy day, I wondered if it was the right night to watch Ouija: Origin of Evil.  But, what the hey, I thought I’d perk up once I got there, then I’d get into it…  The start would get me there… Or maybe, by the end…  I guess you can see where this is going – there was no perking up!

Sure, Doris Zander (Lulu Wilson), the possessed little girl, was scary; all freaky-eyed and way too enthusiastic about all things occult.  There just wasn’t enough of a hook.

I liked the 60s style of the clothes and the house of the Zander family, the style somehow adding an authentic flavour.  The characters were all believable and the story was decent.  And that’s what the film was, decent.  There was no zing for me.  The story felt like a formula which reminded me of other films but without the punch because I could see what was coming:

A story of a fortune teller selling closure to people who’ve lost someone.  The fact that Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser), the widowed mother of 2 girls, was a sham doesn’t matter.  It’s all about looking after her daughters, Doris (Lulu Wilson) and Lina (Annalise Basso) while feeling like she’s helping others, even though she’s making money out of grief.

It didn’t ring true to me, the idea of Alice sending her kids to a Catholic school and the priest, Father Tom, being ever so obliging to someone working in the occult.  The religious aspect didn’t quite fit.

Playing with a Ouija board isn’t a new horror narrative, and Origin of Evil had a fresh feel; the look of the film itself depicting the ‘cigarette burn’ in the corner of the picture on screen, my thinking, on purpose and timely, making the 60s setting more authentic.  And the transformation of the little girl, Doris, was sophisticated in the reveal of possession.

But I felt there was a holding back.  Not that I want gore or to be disgusted.  I prefer a suspenseful horror.  I just wasn’t shocked or surprised.

I’m always looking for that ultimate horror thriller that gets past the seeing, past the eyeball and burrows its way into the brain, to the place of imagination, and Origin of Evil didn’t do that for me.

There was a quality of execution and I believed all the characters, but the scare factor that gets under the skin just wasn’t there.