“Annabelle: Creation” set more understanding for what happened before “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle,” the sequential movies released in the last two years.
Father Massey (Mark Bramhall) welcomes several young orphan girls and Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman), the nun in charge, into his home.
Meanwhile, none of them know about the secrets of Massey’s households, one of which involves the mystery about his wife Carol and the death of their daughter twelve years earlier. At first we never see Carol and she ‘s only hinted at. So for a while, I wondered if she was dead or what had happened.
A little later into the film we finally heard her voice and saw a shadow behind a curtain and it gave me the impression that maybe somehow a demon possessed her.
But that’s not the reason. It wasn’t until closer to the ending that we as an audience learn her story. There is a reason and it involves shame and physical ugliness.
Upon the initial arrival, the main character Janice (Talitha Bateman) stumbles across a note slipped under the door.
The note reads, “Find me” and is from the demon that possesses the Annabelle doll. From there, Janice is pulled into darkness from every direction even though it appears innocent, especially at first. Janice is led into a room full of dolls and a separate section with more dolls in a dollhouse where she discovers a key—a key that goes to a room which the priest has forbidden the girls to go in.
Janice is also disabled and must wear braces to support her with the crutches she walks with. The prevailing theme soon is introduced as darkness preying off the weak and naïve, an element I found intriguing and pulled me into the screen. Even Charlotte seems to know something sinister lurks beyond the physical world. In one of the first scenes when they settle into the house, she is alone and pages of a Bible flip open.
As the plot thickens and the doll Annabelle keeps pops out of nowhere and haunts Janice, Janice and her friend Linda soon find out that it is evil. After demons attack Janice, Linda senses that she has changed and not for the better, so Linda attempts to destroy the doll by tossing it into a well and locking the doll in. Charlotte catches Linda running away with the doll and goes after her, only for both of them to narrowly escape.
From beginning to its conclusion, the movie held my attention in the plays between light and dark shadows. The only thing I have to critique is some missing information as to
Annabelle’s story and how she was lured into evil other than having died. By the end, we still only know Annabelle’s parents made a deal with a powerful supernatural being that they would sell their souls if they could visit with their dead daughter Annabelle again.
But on the other hand, what I appreciated about the story overall is that the possessed doll affected everyone and it wasn’t confined to certain spaces in the house. For example, the older girls tried to shake off the potential presence they felt but it overshadowed any self-assurances that they were safe.
If you haven’t gone to see the movie yet, do stick around for the ending. You’ll definitely want to rewatch the rest of the movies to try to figure out what might happen next.