Movie review: Annabelle: Creation

THIS is probably the first time a promotional campaign for a movie made a bigger impact than the actual movie.

By now, most people would have seen the social media posts featuring the specially-imported Annabelle doll making creepy appearances across Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, those images show more creativity than anything you see in this film.

This disappointing prequel to the passable horror flick Annabelle (2014) basically retcons the original story.

We begin in the happy home of the Mullins, a dollmaker and his wife (played by Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto), whose lives revolve around their adorable daughter, Bee.

Twelve years after Bee is killed in a tragic accident, the couple open their doors to a group of orphan girls, who include best friends Linda (Lulu) and Janice (Talitha), who is crippled from polio.

Things seem well at first, despite Mr Mullins' cold behaviour towards the girls, and his warning to never enter a certain room.

But soon, the girls experience some strange phenomena, and Janice discovers a mysterious doll hidden away in a cupboard. Eventually, the supernatural occurrences become more malevolent, leading to a climactic showdown between the girls and the evil spirit.

While that plot might sound promising, the film is nothing but wasted potential. While Annabelle and the related The Conjuring franchise had chilling and memorable set-pieces, this one relies too much on jump scares, with unimpressive creepy imagery.

The film also suffers from pacing issues, and most of the time, instead of building tension, it just leads to boredom as you wait for the scene to progress.

While the acting ranges from bad to lazy (and a total waste of the talents of veteran actors LaPaglia and Otto), the brightest sparks are the two lead girls, Talitha and Lulu. Only their natural acting talent saves this film from being a complete disaster.

The cleverest thing about this film is the ending, and the way it ties into the 2014 film. It also has a couple of fanservice moments for The Conjuring 2 fans, and has two pointless post-credit scenes.

Unless you are a hardcore fan of Annabelle or The Conjuring series, or are easily scared by loud noises, I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone.