James Wan has become somewhat of a renaissance man in the horror genre. And might just be singlehandedly responsible for its resurgence. Wan has always made great contributions to the genre with films like Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious and of course, The Conjuring, which was a huge success and spawned a sequel that was just as big a hit. He has also become a sort of Godfather to other horror filmmakers producing such films as Demonic and Lights Out and has even bridged the gap to helm big budget Hollywood films like Furious 7 and the upcoming Aquaman. The Conjuring films have now also begun to spawn sequels and prequels in the same universe including 2014’s Annabelle and the upcoming movies The Nun and The Crooked Man. But until then we have a prequel to Annabelle with Annabelle: Creation.
Annabelle: Creation follows Samuel and Esther Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia & Miranda Otto), a couple who, 12 years after losing their daughter Annabelle, open their home to provide shelter for Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and six girls left homeless after the closing of an orphanage. But soon after they arrive, strange happenings occur as a demon tries to take over one of the girls, Janice (Talitha Bateman). Now Sister Charlotte and Janice’s friend Linda (Lulu Wilson) must unravel the mysteries that the Mullins are hiding if they are to survive.
Annabelle: Creation manages to do something uncommon in horror; surpass the film before it. While Annabelle was entertaining enough, Annabelle: Creation really ups the scares and features a few standout performances, most notably Lulu Wilson who wowed audiences last year in another fantastic prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil. Lulu has a unique on screen presence and delivers lines like a pro while remaining quirky and likable. Director David F. Sandberg does a great job of keeping things rolling along, packing the movie with tons of great jump scares, lots of ominous creepy doll shots, some nice possession scenes and a great ensemble cast including Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee, and Miranda Otto. The setting of the Mullins isolated house is creepy and well filmed and the plot of bringing a nun and a gaggle of wayward children into the mix works very well and keep the proceedings from getting too tired. Fans of the Conjuring films will especially find a lot to love in Annabelle: Creation. Highly recommended.