The very mention of Annabelle sends shivers down my spine, thanks to The Conjuring series. Nobody would be able to see a rag doll with the same amount of love and affection like they used to. In fact, I wouldn’t even want any sort of doll at my place, after watching Annabelle Creation. That is, if I remember half the scary moments from the movie. While the doll is creepy and makes you question it’s very existence (especially at times when it’s shown), it also makes me wonder, what’s new in Annabelle 2? The answer is nothing. It’s just another story of the haunted doll, who goes on a possession spree and wants to earn more souls (god only knows for what joy).
What’s it about?
Unlike the shoddy prequel, Annabelle 2 is far more mature in terms of it’s content and storytelling. Set in the 1940s, in the arid regions of USA, where Johnny Cash’s classics are a rave, a nuclear family, consisting of just two parents and their daughter, live happily. Not ever after though because at a very young age, their only daughter has been taken away by them. After trying desperate measures to revive their daughter’s spirit, the couple realise that they’ve actually bestowed themselves with a demon, who wishes to possess the weakest and the most vulnerable in the house. Few years later, enter a group of orphaned kids, who are sheltered at the house along with a nun. While Conjuring 2 had Valak change our perception of nuns (good job there!), here, she’s just another innocent victim to the devil himself. Among the young girls, once again, the devil finds his prey and sets their lives upside down. All hell breaks loose (literally) as the demon makes his way through the young crippled girl.
We’ve seen David F Sandberg create a masterpiece with Light’s Out in 2016. The amount of jitters it caused, despite not being an all out horror movie, says a lot about the director’s filmmaking. So obviously, hopes with Annabelle 2 was also pretty high. To an extent it worked. The high point of this movie is the use of silence. He seems to have aped Alfred Hitchcock’s technique of building suspense, and well, horror, by using silence. There are various moments in the film with the quiet and stillness on the screen that give you the heebie jeebies! Believe me when I say that the anticipation of the next scene scared the bejesus out of me more than what was actually delivered on the screen. The plot of the film is very basic but it’s progression is what makes it really interesting.
The filmmaker hasn’t wasted time in building the plot, like many horror movies usually do. Instead, it directly starts the horror ride right after the girls move into their new haven. Talitha Bateman, as the polio afflicted victim to the devil, makes my heart ache. Her cries for help makes me wish to rush to her rescue. Lulu Wilson as her accomplice is also really good. One thing I’d like to mention that really made my day was the use of humour in a horror plot. Surprised, are we? Well, while I do believe that maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a comic scene but it’s commendable that Lulu made me laugh, right after being attacked by the devil! I must add though, the makers have certainly ruined the song You’re My Sunshine by Johnny Cash by making it the devil’s intro tune.
While Sandberg has done a fabulous job of making me jumpy, it’s only momentary. The spooks aren’t impacting and in fact, I already can’t place the scariest scene from the film! It looks like the makers wanted to show everything and ensure the spine-chilling element too. Perhaps that’s where they lacked. I can sympathise with the victim but I can also forget the horrors the victim has undergone. What does that say about the writing? A weak rip-off of The Conjuring and Annabelle’s stories. The climax, especially, is hurried so much that all the efforts put into making the audience jump up on their seats, is quickly turned into them wondering “Wtf just happened?” The movie isn’t that long as compared to The Conjuring or it’s sequel so the makers did have enough time to produce a clean and a more fathomable end. The spooks, too, were very predictable and nothing worth remembering. Although it’s supposed to be the story of how the doll was created, it sure is far from original. We’ve established the fact that a devil goes for the weakest, most vulnerable soul in the lot. Perhaps we can move on from the same concept and work more on the possibilities of what else the devil can do as it becomes too powerful to be touched.
What to do?
I remember right before I was heading to watch the movie, my female colleague walked up to me and asked, you’re going alone to review the movie? For a moment that sense of fear and doubt did creep in but I reassured myself that I could do this. As soon as I finished watching the film, I actually walked out with a whole speech, to recommend the movie to her. Not because it’s a mind blowing “creation” but because it’s a film where girls need not worry to go alone. Because it won’t make you crap bricks. It’s that mellow and far from original.