Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Annabelle: Creation

6 of 9 viewers "Liked" "Annabelle Creation" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Huntress - "Annabelle: Creation made me feel like a kid. I’m not sick of seeing creepy dolls and creepier children in my horror movies, and this one had plenty of both but neither in an exploitative way. It was just a fun studio horror movie that didn’t allow its popularity to prevent having a pretty high body count. I was happy that this was not just an imitation of Annabelle and actually had some unique elements to it, although I’m afraid it’s adding to the trend of the prequel part twos killing their predecessors." - 3.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "I had some pretty high expectations coming into Annabelle: Creation considering the film's release was constantly being compared to Ouija: Origins of Evil, because of the choice to open screenings to critics. I'll say Annabelle 2 is definitely an improvement on the previous film but doesn't come close to the leap Ouija 2 made (which isn't totally fair since Mike Flanagan is a genius!) from it's mind numbing predecessor. Talitha Bateman was the films highlight for me, I thought she gave a dynamic performance and really shined among the cast. I also like more than a couple of the scare designs? I'm not sure what to call a pocket of a movie that involves set pieces only explored for one scare... there's actually a lot of those in this Warren universe. And I should say, the Warren Universe hurts this film since being a part of the universe comes with so much baggage that constantly pulls you out of the moment or suspended believe. Annabelle: Creation had potential to be truly engaging but just couldn't get there with new super villains hatching all around." - 3.5 Stars

KillDozer - "The trouble with creating a profitable "universe" with film franchises is that no matter who is at the helm you must recreate the vibe and feel of that "universe". The audience expectation is basically the same with each film and every note will be hit, even at the cost of creating what could be a memorable addition to the franchise. Obviously this wasn't always the case, example Alien and Aliens. Unfortunately the current state of big budget horror has the dollar and consistency speaking loader than creativity and innovation. Such is the case with Annabelle: Creation whose talented director David F. Sandberg (the man behind the incredibly fun Lights Out) seems in many ways forced to make a James Wan film and not a David Sandberg film. The problem with handing a talented individual a pre packaged product to resell is that there is no room for anything but one cookie cutter jump scare after another coming out from the blurred background of a shadowy corner. These shots and even the pacing are in the style of the one who started this universe instead of the one now  adding to it. I say this after viewing the film in a packed theatre, full of people cringing in terror at every second on the screen (side note I love the experience of seeing a jump scare work on others even if it does not work on me). Obviously the formula is working for the casual genre visitor but for those of us horror nerds and monster kids who live for this art there is nothing new or exciting in this franchise. Writer Gary Dauberman also adds nothing new which is expected from some one involved in the IT remake and straight to TV CG throwaway titles like Blood Monkey and Swamp Devil. I'm actually not shocked that he has been given these big budget projects as his works shows that he is willing to only put to screen what he is told to. With that being said, if you find dolls creepy this should work well for you but I will not be giving this universe any more of my time or money as it is an easily forgettable cash grab. In short, please seek and discover the talent making genre magic happen independently as Hollywood is out of ideas." - 2 Stars (for some fun camera work and 2 solid creepy moments. Easily forgettable and not collection worthy. Audience reaction score of 5 stars because those kids were terrified and that is awesome!)

Clark Little - "Another case of a moneymaker spinoff being better than it should have been. Nice camera work, great performances and fun scares makes this a theatre-going watch. If one is slightly interested in seeing this, disappointment is unlikely. This is a solid entry in the The Conjuring cannon that shows no signs of slowing down." - 3.5 Stars

Dabbles - "I will say it again, I hate ghosts. And on an added note, I hate dolls. But from having to sit through The Conjuring 2 and seeing this movie connect in ways that build the universe I'm more interested. I did watch this movie the same way I do all ghost movies, so my judgement is a bit challenged. I loved the way this movie was filmed; from plot to characters you really are engaged. They used a lot of tricks to play with the crowd, a lot of "WTF are you doing" moments but never the less worth the watch. I haven't seen the original Annabelle and The Conjuring but now I might have to since both of them to be sequels. Dolls are scary, especially if you have had a grandmother who displayed a couple in a room where you were forced to just play in when you were a kid. Swearing that it moved or what not. I kept thinking of that damn doll all week." - 4 Stars

Midnight Bloom - "I really enjoyed Annabelle: Creation because it finally connected the dots to both Annabelle and The Conjuring 2. You have the family who loses their daughter at a young age and is trying to cope with the loss. They do what any other family would do, they pray and pray, hoping for good results. The movie has such an amazing story line, it opened up so much of how Annabelle made such a big impact on the storyline, a demon possessing the doll so it can stay and find a way to prey on the innocent souls’ on earth. The storyline of the movie kind of has that warning “Be careful what you wish for.” type of vibe, because it basically is a lesson. Be careful what you wish for because you never know who or what you’ll get, or the consequences you’ll pay for. I’d recommend Annabelle: Creation to anyone who loved Insidious, and The Conjuring sequels because it has the same feel as those movies and it connected the dots on all of the Conjuring movies. Definitely worth seeing again! My favorite horror movie of the year." - 5 Stars

The Impostor - "2017 has been a solid year for horror films and Annabelle: Creation is no exception. The Conjuring universe is expanding quite nicely; it hit a bump with the original Annabelle which in my opinion wasn't a bad movie just uber forgettable, but this effective prequel is far superior. The acting is strong especially when it came to Janice, the crippled main character with more heart than most final girls. Fun fact, the actress playing Janice (Talitha Bateman) is the older sister of the little brother in Lights Out (Gabriel Bateman), which was the directorial debut of David Sandberg, and Annabelle: Creation being his second feature. Ouija Origins's Lulu Wilson was also a highlight and already has a few horror tiles under her belt. She's definitely a mini scream queen in the making. I do feel this film is a rehash of previous Conjuring films with its tropes and formula but it still manages to be just as creepy and thrilling. A few scenes definitely stood out and creeped out the audience which was a fun experience in itself. Overall Annabelle: Creation is the prequel we didn't ask for but thankfully we got. Unique scares, good characters, creepy atmosphere and the maze like house kept me entertained from beginning to shocking end. I'd definitely recommend it preferably in a theater." - 4 Stars

Trash - "A competent, unsubstantial horror film that's an improvement on both the director's prior movie (Lights Out) and the mind-numbingly disjointed The Conjuring 2. That's right, the best way to make a better movie than that drivel is to construct a bunch of scenes where all that happens is something spooky approaches and tie them all together with some orphans. The biggest disappointment for me personally, is that there wasn't a Sleepaway Camp reveal that one of the little orphan girls was actually an orphan boy, but that's why no one trusts my opinion on anything anymore! If nothing risky is ever going to happen, the only thing I'm less interested in than a Conjuring shared universe is that new James Franco movie." - 2.5 Stars

Randy The Reverberator - *No Comment* - 2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

BlumHouse, the Warrens, and Content, oh my! First I'd like to say, what I just wrote might have been the dumbest thing in the history of written language but I think it accurately articulates the change in studio produced movies. Back in 2013, these films were released: Agent Carter, Iron Man 3, Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, Thor: Dark World, The Wolverine, and The Conjuring. I personally never see the "bigger picture" a term thrown around quite often in cliche business settings. BlumHouse, on the other hand, has reinvented the way you make money in our modern studio climate, so I don't think it's that much of a stretch to say the conjuring of Ed and Lorraine's mythos was a calculated move to a world of Marvel-esque content.

After the release of the first Conjuring film I did a little research on the Warrens to learn more about their adventures. The internet at this point had very little to offer on the subject, but thankfully my mother was very aware of who the Warrens where and pointed me in the right direction. I quickly got sucked down the Warrens rabbit hole... (second worst thing ever written) and what I found was a series of fantastical battles with the undead, possessed, and paranormal, it easily could have been a long running novela series except the claim that the stories were true made them much more ominous, even when the good guys win. The final product of my exploration is a terrible write up I did waaay back in the beginning of The Overlook Theatre (it's not hard to find but I refuse to add a link).

 I should take a minute to address the fact that I know the Warrens say everything they've reported is 100% real but as I was discovering where all the objects from their museum came from I couldn't help but crash into several accounts stating everything they were and are saying is false. I won't get too much into this but one interesting thing you can look into is the lawsuit Gerald Brittle, author of the 1980's book "The Demonologist", took out against BlumHouse. The gist is BlumHouse says the stories are real so they can use them and Gerald Brittle is saying they are not so they owe him money for his original writing.

What does this all mean? Well it means the Warrens are at least briefly interesting to horror and non horror fans, it means BlumHouse will probably play it safe and move into more "original" content created by side creatures in The Conjuring universe. Oh and it means the first actual horror Universe and yes I am aware that crossover films have always existed but not like this. Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to a spin off that contained a cameo by the Nun from the Conjuring 2, who has a movie slated for 2018. The Conjuring 2 also has a third installment coming out with the 3rd spin-off film The Crooked Man and this might also be the introduction of another possible character the Scarecrow..?
I've talked about this on The Overlook Hour before but all of this extended world lore really hurts the vibe of a horror film. It's hard to get lost in a world when you can't relate to it since it's constantly trying to redefine itself as something unique.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized at Century Theatres for an opening night screening on 8/10/2017 *Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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