I never actually saw the first "Annabelle" film, as that came out when I still wasn't a fan of "The Conjuring", and I have since avoided it because I hear that it isn't very good. I was super surprised to see that this was getting good reviews (even higher than the two main "Conjuring" films out of LAFF) and I loved David Sandberg's other film, "Lights Out", so I went to see it on opening night.
This film definitely has some ups and downs in its script. As a whole, I think that the film is pretty formulaic. It's much like most other modern possession horror movies, and as a whole, it end up being a bit too predictable. There are also some really cheesy lines in the film that are stolen from literally every other film in the subgenre, such as "What do you want?" (takes a second to respond in a devil-like voice) "Your soul!" The conflict of the film is also caused by the simplest reason in the book: one character didn't listen to what they were told (also known as a character making a stupid decision). It was in these areas that I was really disappointed that the film didn't stand out, unlike the other films in the series. [Minor SPOILER ALERT!] As a prequel to a prequel, the film also tries a bit too far to connect itself to the rest of the series. It probably would have been more effective as a standalone film that shares a character in common with the rest of the films. [Spoilers over.] On the other hand, the film does a very good job of developing the characters. There isn't one clear protagonist, but two that often shift, which was an interesting choice on the part of the writer. These two protagonists are both really well-developed and are well-cast, as both of the young actresses encapsulate the range of emotions required. The supporting cast is also relatively well-developed, even though some of the characters fall strongly into archetypes.
Something that I thought I wouldn't be saying going into this film is that the cinematography was actually phenomenal. The camerawork used for establishing shots was my favorite in the film. The shot in which the characters are being introduced to the house is a long tracking shot that is very fluid and does an extremely good job of setting up the environment of the film. Sandberg also has a masterful control of the frame, using tricks like rack focus to add suspense to the film. Ultimately, there ends up being a good balance of the simple and the advanced in this film that add up to build the horror in this film. Yes, the film has a lot of jump scares (many of which are extremely effective), however, the film is equally focused on creating the atmosphere of the film that is what will actually sit with you for a long time.
Overall, I thought that "Annabelle: Creation" was much better than the average horror film, but it still isn't as good as the two "The Conjuring" movies. Fans of the series and the genre will still definitely want to check it out, though.
Big Tuna's Rating: B
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.