Annabelle, the creepy doll from The Conjuring movies, gets her second standalone film with Annabelle: Creation, a silly movie that’s nevertheless enjoyable thanks to some deft direction and surprisingly competent acting.
The movie essentially holds together thanks to solid performances from Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson, the latter being the same child actress who gave incredible work in the also surprisingly good prequel/sequel to a so-so movie, Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Mind you, the film is full of good performances from the likes of Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia and Stephanie Sigman, but it’s Bateman and Wilson who get most of the credit for pulling this off in front of the camera. The film is set many years before the first Annabelle movie, with orphans Janice (Bateman) and Linda (Wilson) on their way to a new home, a group of other girls and happy nun Sister Charlotte (Sigman) at their side. Once at their new home, the doll is discovered, and the resultant playtime totally sucks ass. Last year, director David F. Sandberg delivered a decent genre film with Lights Out, based on his terrifically scary short film. (Talitha’s younger brother, Martin Bateman, starred in that one.)
Sandberg continues to show he’s good with a jolt scare; there are many moments in this movie when you expect one, and it still jolts you. He also makes good-looking movies. The authentic Southern Gothic look of this film lends to its credibility and keeps you in the story.