Horrible, but not in the intended way

Monday August 14, 2017 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the fi lm Annabelle: Creation, now screening at the Empire Cinema. 17081108 A scene from the fi lm Annabelle: Creation, now screening at the Empire Cinema. 17081108

There must have been once upon a time when a door closing ominously in the background would have made audiences afraid, or lights flickering on and off must have had people squeezing their partner’s hand in fright.

 

In 2017, I’m not sure that this is the case, yet Annabelle: Creation disappointingly bases the majority of its scares on clichés such as these.

The film is a sequel to the 2014 box-office hit Annabelle, featuring the creepy doll that was at the end of supernatural horror film The Conjuring, which someone decided to make a movie about.

Rather than showing what Annabelle might do next the studio, the directors, who appear to have been out of ideas, decided instead to make the sequel about the doll’s beginning. So the second movie is really the first movie, even though it is the fourth in the Conjuring series.

It makes sense for what is a fairly ridiculous premise to have a fairly ridiculous beginning, as a young girl is killed at the beginning in such rushed, comic fashion that it is almost funny.

The girl’s father is also the creator of Annabelle the doll, which we see him making as the film opens, before skipping 12 years ahead to when the story takes place.

To describe this as a plot may possibly be an insult to the word “plot”, which has had a rough go of it lately after movies such as The Mummy and Atomic Blonde.

In present day movie time, a group of young female orphans make their way to the house where the little girl once lived, now only occupied by her grieving father and mysteriously ill mother.

Of the six girls and nun that travel to the presumably haunted house, the focus is on two sisters, Janice who has polio for some reason, and Linda, whose bob haircut is the star of the film.

The girls are shown around the house, but told in no uncertain terms that they cannot enter one room in particular. Of course they enter it approximately five minutes later.

This is where the shenanigans begin, as Janice finds the dead daughter’s old room, and her doll Annabelle in a closet.

What follows is a predictable series of “scares”, the worst of which is the jump scare.

This trope is awful because it isn’t the action that frightens but rather the loud burst of music which instinctively makes the viewer recoil.

There is no tension in the film, only preparation for the next jump scare that is inevitably around the corner.

Worse still, there is no action as the filmmakers hide everything behind a dark shroud, as though the audience will imagine something worse than what is happening on screen.

Annabelle, the featured villain, also literally does nothing, because as ridiculous as the premise is, seeing a doll move would most likely make her a punch line.

Which is ironic, because it is actually an unintentionally funny film, and the Empire Cinema audience seemed to find it more funny than scary.

Watching the film, which seems to be a combination of The Exorcist, The Ring, Phantom of the Opera and one million other typical horror movies, it seems the film makers took the phrase “Lights, camera, action,” as a challenge.

The film is impossibly dark, to cover the shortfalls they likely had with making the demon monster thing look scary.

There is no action that the viewer can actually see, and just about every time it appears something will happen, the demon stops chasing, or banging on the door, or lets the victims go, probably because there is still an hour left in the movie.

If anything, the people that made this movie are the ones who are afraid.

They were afraid to challenge the audience with something new, afraid to break from convention, afraid to do anything that would make Annabelle: Creation memorable.

I’m assuming that they’d be too afraid to change the name as well, because it really should be called Annabelle: Build-ups.

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