Did you know that there was a horror movie cinematic universe that was bigger than Universal’s Monsters cinematic universe, but smaller than the Marvel cinematic universe? Did you know that they’re doing origin stories for your favorite haunted doll, Annabelle? Did you know it was titled Annabelle: Creation? Did you know it doesn’t actually tell you how she was created?
James Wan’s Conjuring films share a continuity with the Annabelle films, but in name only. While both film franchises are claimed to be in the same universe, they’re not truly all that related other than some throwaway elements. This isn’t a bad thing, because we don’t need something over the top like Spiderman or shoehorned like Shang-Chi. The real shame is that the peripheral Conjuring films aren’t nearly in the same ballpark as the main ones, and this film, Annabelle: Creation is the worst of the pack.
Creation implies that the film would cover the actual origins of how the legendary doll became haunted, but in reality it just covers one of her first hauntings. Even worse, the first haunting isn’t even that scary. The formula is similar, in that an isolated household suffering an unresolved familial tragedy is harassed by a demon. Wan’s usual formula, even in his Insidious films and his new property, Malignant, the horror is resolved when the familial trauma is faced and resolved. The formula allows Wan to play around with these elements. In my favorite, The Conjuring 2, the family isn’t physically isolated, but socially isolated. Creations has the benefit of being socially and physically isolated by having the film take place in the old midwest and also by having the bulk of the characters be dysfunctional orphans left alone with a single nun.
The film builds its traditional supernatural horror, and the actors, especially the young girls, are stellar. They are faultless and convincing and even when they’re idiot children, they’re still sympathetic. The true tragic downfall of this film is in its climax- or lack thereof. The film has absolutely no resolution. The monster gets away, and there is literally no emotional or supernatural conclusion. They literally lock the doll in the room, call the cops, and the fucking credits roll after we’re shown that the demon clawed itself out of the room- something it could have done before the film started, too.
Annabelle: Creation is a resounding and complete disaster of a film in that they completely forgot that they had to end the movie.
I wish the movie was worse because at least then I’d be able to joke about it, but this thing is past any help whatsoever.