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Back in 2014 the scary film, The Conjuring, introduced Annabelle as the possessed doll that tortured Judy, the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren. A year later Annabelle is starring in her own film, which you’d be excused if you didn’t know it was made. Skip forwards another couple of years and voila you have Annabelle Creation, the movie that explains where it all started for the possessed doll.

While The Conjuring franchise has been particularly strong and not to mention scary so far, Annabelle Creation is the film that brings it all crashing down. This film had such great potential as it already has a strong story line based on real events. It started to use some fancy camera work only to fizzle out as the movie went on. But most of all, it wasn’t scary. It was far from scary so much so the audience laughed at what should have been moments of “ooo” and “aaahhh”.

Annabelle Creation is about a group of orphans that go to live with a couple who lost their child and wanted to have some happiness in their lives again. In a small country town and far from any neighbours or the township lies a large house big enough to home the group of girls and the Nun accompanying them. But there’s one room that’s off limits, that is until Janice finds herself in there. As you could imagine, behind a locked door sits Annabelle in all her frightening glory.

What is learnt from this film is Annabelle started as the young daughter of Doll Maker Samuel Mullens and his wife Esther. Annabelle died when a car hit her on way home from church. During the parents grief they let the demon use the doll as a way to communicate with Annabelle. And then things got out of control.

There are some deaths and some prayers but nothing has much effect on Annabelle. She eventually takes over one of the orphans and moves to the next family to torture. Not the most exciting story line, which would have been fine had it been executed with a little more “ooo” and “aaahhh”.

What does give this movie some encouragement is the young girl, Janice, played by Talitha Bateman (The 5th Wave), who is possessed by Annabelle’s demon. Bateman manages to be one of the only actresses of the orphan children that can deliver her lines and not sound like she is reading from a script. Her performance is not only believable but frighteningly so. As she goes from troubled young lady to possessed doll loving demon, she is almost worthy of your nightmares.

Taking on the challenge of another Annabelle film that wasn’t really needed is Director David S. Sandberg. Now Sandberg has had a bunch of scary films under his belt already, in particular Lights Out. This was not only frightening but also completely messed up and worthy of watching. But he seems to have missed exactly what needed to be done to make this film worthy of anyone’s time.

Overall this film has been overhyped but in reality under delivers. If you find yourself stuck for choice between watching Annabelle Creation or something else, take the something else. The scenes in the film that would normally have you on the edge of your chair, have you laid back looking at your phone for something to do. The moment they reveal Annabelle, even though we already know who she is, is so bad you’ll laugh. And there was a lot of laughing in the audience rather than people gasping or jumping.

The Nun from The Conjuring 2 does make an appearance as she prepares for her full movie to be released next year as part of the franchise. Hopefully the franchise can redeem back what was once worthy of the big screen, yet now is more interesting to watch the making of the film than the film itself.

Review by Jay Cook

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