I don’t think I’m alone in saying that no one asked for another Annabelle movie.
Considering the “mixed” reviews from both critics and fans, it’s easy to identify the first Annabelle film as the weakest link of the Conjuring franchise. Now, Annabelle: Creation on the other hand, is a far better horror film. It has excellent cinematography, great acting, memorable characters and more scares. The latest addition has instantly become one of my favourite horror movies.
So why exactly is the new Annabelle film that much scarier (and better) than the first film?
Well, there are quite a few reasons why.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. This prequel is actually much scarier than the first Annabelle. The movie takes a lot of time to build tension and set up suspense. As opposed to a bunch of random scenes with poorly executed jump-scares and loud sound effects.
Creation makes use of heavily suspenseful action and a creepy atmosphere to produce their scares. With David F. Sandberg taking the reins, we were sure to have another terrifying addition to the well-developed Conjuring franchise.
Sandberg has a very clear idea of how to build scares. He makes sure to drag out long and suspenseful scenes to keep the tension constantly rising. To add to this, there were a lot of new scares. This made for a more original, more frightening, and more fun experience.
This is obviously a huge contrast from the predictable and bland jump scares from Annabelle
Aside from that, I was personally very annoyed with the overabundance of close ups on the doll. Like seriously, just so many close-ups.
Furthermore, the scares utilised were way too predictable.
They were either through the framing of shots or just simply scenes that we’ve seen before in other movies. Besides one decent basement scene that had me on the edge of my seat, the rest of Annabelle was just one giant snooze-fest (with loud sounds).
By far, the biggest improvement, in my opinion, are the characters in the movie.
In the first Annabelle, we were introduced to a couple who we were supposed to care for when this demon began harassing their family. However, their stupid decisions and boring personality made me root for Annabelle more so than this dull family. In fact, I couldn’t tell what was more lifeless, the doll or the family.
Annabelle: Creation takes a different approach. It focuses its plot on characters with depth and history. Our two orphaned protagonist, Janice and Linda, are best friends from the very start. We get a sense of that through a pact that they create together.
When their bond becomes threatened by these paranormal forces, we really do care about their survival and their bond when things start to go wrong. This, combined with riveting performances (especially from Talitha Bateman), helped us sympathise for these characters and made the film much more impactful.
Now the cinematography and sound design of Creation is also something to marvel at.
Something that always peaks my interests in films (and helps me distinguish the average films from the masterpieces) is the intricate variety of camera techniques and movement. This helps illustrate the narrative.
Like many of the other additions, Creation has a strong reliance of seamless camera movement and long takes. This is also further accentuated with immaculate sound design which helped drive suspense and tension throughout.
Watching some of the Behind-The-Scenes footage, I was also thoroughly impressed with the use of practical effects instead of generic CGI demons. Practical effects make the movie much more realistic and almost timeless. They put heavy emphasis on special lighting techniques, camera angles, extraordinary makeup and a little bit of movie-magic. I must admit that I don’t recall if Annabelle had focused on CGI, but I’m certain that Creation was able to execute this much more seamlessly.
Now this isn’t really a comparison, I just thoroughly enjoyed the amount of easter eggs and slight nods to other films in the franchise. We live in a world of cinematic universes nowadays. With the Conjuring franchise dominating the modern horror genre, it’s safe to say that it’s also one of our favourite horror movie universes.
To a lot of diehard fans (like myself), there’s a lot of references and hints that can be found. One of the things that I was most impressed with was the finale, and how it tied together so well with the first Annabelle movie, as well as clearing up a few problems that some might have with the first film.
Annabelle: Creation was a prequel that no one asked for.
Yet, with the perfect direction of David F. Sandberg, it’s evident that he helped bring back our terrifying image of Annabelle the doll once again. Who knows? Maybe The Nun will also be another cult classic horror film full of new scares and memorable characters.