Annabelle: Creation - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Annabelle: Creation

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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

Who would have thought that 2013’s The Conjuring (as amazing as it was) would spawn a sequel AND two spin off films? None of them actually bad either. I really REALLY enjoyed The Conjuring as one of the best modern supernatural horror films I’ve ever seen. It was exquisitely paced, and brought just enough terror to the table without going over into pure cheese, while balancing non traditional scares that really brought the creep factor to max. Also, who would have thought that the creepy little doll in the Warren’s book case would actually garner enough fans to warrant making a spin off in the form of Annabelle. Annabelle was a big surprise for me, as I really thought the idea of a spin off horror movie based upon a creepy doll would be nothing but a cash grab. Well, I still say that Annabelle is a cash grab (most blockbuster films are if you really think about it), but it was a rather well done cash grab that was entertaining enough for me to actually add to my collection. The Conjuring 2 wasn’t nearly as good as the original, but still held enough charm to easily eclipse Annabelle, but when they announced Annabelle: Creation I wondered if the film would even be as good as the generally entertaining Annabelle. Interestingly enough, Creation managed to be AS good as it’s predecessor, while actually improving on a few elements, making it another competently done horror movie that isn’t legendary, but well done enough to have me give a thumbs up out of enjoyable respect.

If you remember Annabelle, it started out with the Higgins family getting slaughtered by their daughter Annabelle, and the doll ending up in the Warren’s care after the family next door hands it over (told through an interview on tape). Well, Creation goes back several decades to tell us HOW this little Doll and the evil Annabelle (the human) became what she was later on. Toy maker Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) suffered a terrible tragedy in the early 50s. Their daughter was taken from them in freak car accident, leaving the family business in tatters while the couple recuperated. 12 years later the couple decide to let in a group of orphans and a nun named Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) in when they have nowhere to go. The youngest pair, Bee (Samara Lee) and crippled Janice (Talitha Bateman) wander around the old Toy master’s house and even violate Sam Mullins strict guidelines of not going in his dead daughter’s bedroom. There, in the back corner of the room, Janice comes across a hidden cabinet that contains a creepy doll with a white dress surrounded by pages of the Bible.

After finding the room and opening it up, the two girls start to notice things happening. Janice hears creaks and groans from the closet, and soon she catches a glimpse of something evil and dark out of the corner of her eye. Bee is the only one of the girls who believes her, and even Sister Charlotte thinks that Janice is over exaggerating. As she starts to doubt her own sanity, the only hint that what she’s experiencing isn’t a hallucination is the fear and terror of the Mullins when they find out what Janice and Bee have experienced.
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Annabelle: Creation plays fast and loose with a little bit of the continuity, retconning certain bits here and there, but opening up the world of the Warrens and giving it a huge arena of mythology and lore to play with. One thing that I noticed off the bat was that there seems to be a bit of retconning of HOW the Annabelle doll became what it was. Here it seems to have been an original conduit for The Ram spirit that we find out about in Annabelle, yet is dissipated by the end and teases us with who the murderer of the Higgins actually is. It’s kind of cool, but those last 5 minutes (while they do tie into the movie), would have been better left for another movie, instead of slapping it on to act as a bridge. The ending with the doll in the trunk and the girls driving off would have been the perfect point to end on, but I digress. Especially since the end credits and mid credits scene also segues directly into the movie The Nun (which made a slight appearance in The Conjuring 2 in a painting) and even maybe allows us another Annabelle movie as well.

As for the rest of the film. I was really pleasantly surprised at what I saw. The two girls, Janice and Bee do a great job at portraying terrified and naive young children, and Anthony LaPaglia is a solid presence throughout the film. I really did like how the movie opens up and gives you the introduction to The Ram in his full form, rather than just an evil doll (although there are hints about that as well), and the film doesn’t shy away from showing some truly gruesome deaths without being a slasher blood fest. It may not be a modern classic, but it does well and rides right on the coat tails of the rather entertaining The Conjuring 2 as a good, but not great, horror flick.





Rating:

Rated R for horror violence and terror.




Video: :4.5stars:
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I’m actually a little puzzled why Annabelle: Creation didn’t get a 4K UHD release? In fact other WB titles that are popular enough haven’t either (such as The Conjuring 2), and while the 2K mastered film might not be the PERFECT resolution for 4K, the use of HDR with the constant blues and sandy tones would have made an amazing looking disc. The Blu-ray is no slouch, though, as it gives forth a very organic look for a digitally shot movie. The film takes place in the far past, so instead of the dull yellow of the 70s (The Conjuring) or the more neutral look of Annabelle, this one plays to the golden highlights and sandy look of the 1950s. Facial details are well done, with the intricacies of the Annabelle doll showing up perfectly clean. The golden overtones can sometimes create a sun drenched look to the film, which can wash a little bit of detail away, but other than that and a couple shots of banding (when Bee shines the flashlight before getting in the dumb waiter), the film is amazingly well done. Blacks are inky and deep, and the shadows hold that blue tinge that is so common in horror films.






Audio: :5stars:
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Annabelle: Creation comes to Blu-ray with an absolutely fabulous Dolby Atmos track that just rocks the listener back on their heels with all sorts of sonic nuances. The film can be light and playful, with crisp dialog in the front of the room, followed by all sorts of little creaks and groans dancing around the old farm house. However, the third act really kicks things into high gear when The Ram spirit starts to come out in full force, and the whole sound stage is used in all directions. The overheads light up with people being flung on the ceiling, followed up with some of the most accurate and directional uses of the surround system that I’ve ever heard. There was more than a few times that I paused the movie because it sounded like someone was at the door over my right shoulder, or a noise so startlingly realistic that I swore it came from outside the room (a muffled crash, or o a thud in the distance). LFE is brutal and punishing, sending waves of bass throughout the room at differing times. The jump scares have most of that weight, but there are plenty of little spots throughout the film that have a shocking amount of bass where you wouldn’t expect it. Simply put, one of the best audio tracks in a recent Blu-ray release.





Extras: :3.5stars:
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• The Horror Continues
• Horror Shorts: Attic Panic and Coffer
• Director's Commentary
• Directing Annabelle
• Deleted Scenes Featurette









Final Score: :4stars:


Annabelle: Creation is not as amazing as The Conjuring or even as good as the sequel, but it does provide a very competent horror experience for those of us who like the mythos of that world. In fact, I actually like it just a little bit more than Annabelle, which was a surprise for me as well. The movie ties directly into that movie, with an ending that tries just a BIT too hard, but makes up for that little over extension with a great little supernatural horror plot for the first hour and 45 minutes. Warner brothers knocks it out of the park with a great video encode and a STUNNING Atmos mix to enjoy. Even the extras (while a bit sparse in quantity) are well worth digging into and have some great tidbits to tie the films into the world of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Good for a fun watch.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee, Miranda Otto
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Written by: Gary Dauberman
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese, English DVS DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: R
Runtime: 109 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own Annabelle: Creation on Blu-ray and DVD on October 24, or Own It Now on Digital HD!







Recommendation: Good Watch

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will check this one out.
 

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Thank you for the review. I will be buying this one this weekend since I already own Annabelle and both Conjuring movies. Plus this weekend is the prefect time to watch scary movies being that Halloween is around the corner..hehe.
 

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Hmmm... on the fence here. Mike, your audio evaluation notes got my attention. But I'm not sure this is my style of horror.
 

Michael Scott

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Hmmm... on the fence here. Mike, your audio evaluation notes got my attention. But I'm not sure this is my style of horror.
How were you on the original Annabelle or The Conjuring 2?
 

Todd Anderson

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Never saw the original Annabelle... thought the original Conjuring was 50-50. Not bad, not great. I don't think I saw Conjuring 2.
 

Michael Scott

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Never saw the original Annabelle... thought the original Conjuring was 50-50. Not bad, not great. I don't think I saw Conjuring 2.
I'm in horror at your rating of the Original the Conjuring!!!!!
 

Todd Anderson

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It echoed my general love hate with horror... horror holds my attention for 75-85% of the movie. But the endings typically end up being hokey and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Know what I mean?
 

Michael Scott

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*chuckle, even as a horror fanatic it's hard not to agree with wrapping things up in a horror movie. It's one of the famous weak spots
 

Todd Anderson

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For my taste, a movie like Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity have the "proper horror" ending nailed. There's no smiley happiness going on... just a fatal ending that leaves the mind running in circles. There are others... such as one of my Top 10 all time favorite movies, Halloween, that pull off the open ended ending well too.

Last Halloween we watched Babadook, which I really enjoyed. The ending was a little bit of a seesaw affair. But, the explanation of why the entire story had happened was neatly wrapped up.
 

Michael Scott

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did you just mention Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity in my presence?! Can we vote someone off the island here? Bueller? Bueller?

lol, I kid. And I did like Babadook too. It was an oddball one

as for the ending with this one, it'll be hit or miss whether you like it from your description. There's really TWO endings if you think about it, and one will be like what you like, the second not as much .... However, I'd at least suggest renting it minimum. The audio is just nuts (I know how you love some good audio) and it IS actually a decent horror movie, and that's coming from someone who fully recognizes a lot of the fun in horror films is pure trash :greengrin:.
 

Todd Anderson

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Ha!

You make a good point: I'm willing to take some serious hits in the name of good audio ;-)

Wonder if this one is available through redbox right now?
 

Michael Scott

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Michael Scott

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Thank you for the review. I will be buying this one this weekend since I already own Annabelle and both Conjuring movies. Plus this weekend is the prefect time to watch scary movies being that Halloween is around the corner..hehe.
tell me about it. This weekend is VERY light on reviews for me luckily (first time I can take a solid weekend break :greengrin:) and I have a handful of nasty, gooey, creepy goodness to keep me company while the wife has to work
 

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^^^ LUCKY^^^^
 

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I’ll also be checking this one out. I’m a fan of the series and really enjoyed The Conjuring. Did Todd really reference Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity? Ok, I’ll admit to having enjoyed those as well. :heehee:
 

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You guys are a rough crowd!

I enjoyed both those flicks, no shame in admitting that!
 

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we'll give you a pass Todd, but all jokes aside. I think you'll love the Audio track on this one. Atmos is VERY effective as the localization shifts so much in the film, and the surround channels are extremely detailed. I really was creeped out by how accurate a few muffled bumps and bangs were in the overheads and surrounds. I was pausing the film to make sure my dogs weren't getting into things outside
 

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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
Sounds like I’ll be renting Annabelle 2!
 

Asere

Senior AV Addict
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,047
Location
Texas
My AV System  
Main Amp
Denon AVR X4200W
Additional Amp
Parasound HCA 1500A
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103D
Front Speakers
SVS Prime Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Prime
Surround Speakers
SVS Prime Satellites
Front Height Speakers
Proficient
Rear Height Speakers
Proficient
Subwoofers
Dual Kreisel DXD 12012, PSA S3000i
Video Display Device
Samsung PNF8500
Screen
60"
Remote Control
Harmony Ultra
Other Equipment
Panamax M5300 PM, Monster HTS 3600
I really enjoyed this film more then I did the first one. This one was creepy, creepy from all angles. The ending was great too. Explains the opening to the original Annabelle.
 

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
2,759
Location
Arizona
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
JVC RS-46 Projector
Screen
Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
I agree. I'd give the original Annabelle a 3.25/5, this was a solid 3.5/5 maybe 3.75/5 if I'm getting detailed. Surprising when a horror sequel is BETTER than the original
 
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