Oh yeah…I forgot about this. Well, it was an easy mistake to make for such a forgettable film.
Annabelle: Creation tries to be a “horror” film, but is mostly a dull film that checks every box that every other modern studio horror film checks. Even worse, it does it so predictably and plainly that any interest that it has managed to build for the audience quickly dies away as they check their phones to see how much longer this thing is going to go on.
Full disclosure: I have not seen any other film in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, and after having seen this one, I don’t particularly care to. As a result, I knew nothing about the reasons that this doll was haunted, but I was going to find out, dad gum it. I was prepared for a doll that was going to kill people and cause all kinds of spooky nonsense- which would have been so silly and stupid that it would have resulted in a more entertaining film.
Instead, it was about a demon.
As soon as it was revealed that it was a demon, I checked out and was ready to leave. Demons are so boring because they don’t have any clever reasoning for their actions. Why is thing going around killing people? Does it have a complex history? Was it a tormented child at some point that wants revenge? Nope, it is just a demon that wants to kill old people. Part of fear behind a monster is not knowing anything about it. This film was at its peak when the girls were trying to figure out why the ghost of another little girl was appearing in this house. The mystery behind this had me interested in the film, but then it was revealed that she was being used by a demon to collect souls and from that point on, the film transformed into the bluesmobile.
Oh no, its a doll and its creepy! Wait, it doesn’t do anything? Then when the heck am I supposed to be scared?
It is possible that a boring threat can be overcome by great scares, but we should know better from this film. Not only are all of the scares the usual jump scare garbage that has been shoveled into theaters for the past decade, but they are all so telegraphed and predictable that they barely even work at all. The theater will go completely silent, the focal point of the frame would be off to the side leaving plenty of empty space for something to jump into, and a character would be doing something stupid to set themselves up for the scare. All of those would happen, and I would say to myself, “oh great; here it comes.” Then the jump scare happens, but nobody cares because they’ve known about it for five minutes. Delaying the jump scare does not create tension, it creates annoyance. Even that fake out jump scares were predictable.
Unfortunately, this is actually a competently put together film. It features some nifty camera work with some long takes that don’t really serve a purpose, but they look good. All of the elements throughout the film are properly set up, and there is never a point where I was shouting at the screen because I didn’t know what was going on. Normally that is a good thing, but had the film been more poorly made, it would have been worse, and potentially more amusing and fun. However, this was a film that was just good enough to not be trash, but not good enough to sniff being good. The middle ground between bad and good is boring and this film is the poster child for boring.
Ultimately this is just a vacuous and toothless horror film. The body count is far too small, and so the threat doesn’t feel real. Only two people die, and a third is possessed. Give me some more blood! There are plenty of meat-bags on the screen, so kill a few more of them and give this film some bite. The tepid scares, the lack of any mystery and the total predictability of the events on the screen all work to create a film that is simply too dull to have any real enjoyment.
But hey, only three weeks until It, so there’s that.