Annabelle: Creation proves, quite comfortably, that dolls have their limitations

Annabelle: Creation proves, quite comfortably, that dolls have their limitations. There is always the suggestion that a doll that does not move is scarier than one that does. As soon as it starts flailing about it loses all sense of fear. Yet, even to find the still doll scary there has to be some form of suspended belief. Essentially, dolls aren’t scary, and however hard filmmakers try, there is no way around that.

When a nun and a small group of orphan girls relocate to a new home in the desert, they’re initially overwhelmed by the building’s size. Strange things begin to take hold when one of the girls forces her way into a forbidden room. Inside she discovers a doll with a feverishly dark past.

Using Annabelle as the main supernatural threat for most of the film does leave it a little thin in the fear department. All too often there is a reliance on a moving door, or an object seemingly operating by itself. Though creepy, this doesn’t build fear over the course of the story. Even with a fast paced, fear inducing final 20 minutes, it comes as a shock but fails to fulfill its full potential.

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Annabelle: Creation is a film that relies on its jump scares, and there are a lot of them. But when two of this year’s most successful horror films, both critically and commercially  (Get Out and Raw), have next to no jump scares, there are questions to be asked about their modern day relevance. It’s almost as if they are heading out of fashion and larger audiences are only accepting a more advanced form of horror.

The film itself is strong enough to hold its story, as well as provide some scares. Yet ultimately,  it is not the creepy, twisted film it needed to be. A few jump scares should not give a film plaudits, and that really is all Annabelle: Creation ends up being.

3/5

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