Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Garbage, is what this is. Just irredeemable crap. Review done!

I mean, hi, everyone! I’m back in Japan for the holidays. My wife is working crazy 12-hour days at her university, and I’m left with a lot of time to be irresponsible. Today I used that time (irresponsibly) to watch Annabelle: Creation, because I have Netflix and I’m rapidly running out of reasons to continue having Netflix. This did not help!

The story is skeletal. In the 1940s, a group of orphan girls get a new foster home with a couple whose daughter was hit by a truck years before. The husband is weird; the wife hides away in her room all day and is never seen. The children are accompanied by Sister Charlotte, a nun who inexplicably can take confession, because who needs research when you’ve got a massive budget and Wanfluence on your side? So, whatever, the dead girl’s ghost is haunting the house, only not really, it’s a demon, and it has possessed the spooky doll (not yet called “Annabelle,” which is the name of the deceased daughter), and it wants, I guess, a body? I don’t know, it’s just a demon doing demon shit. None of this matters.

I’d love to say something good about this film, but I just can’t. It’s everything I’ve come to loathe about the post-The Conjuring film making: predictable, lazy, garish, and loud. It equates loud noises and fast edits with “scares,” and endlessly repeats the unforgivable sin of the multi-fake-out jump scare: it forces you to look one way, expecting a scare, then provides none; then it forces you to look back the other way, and again there’s nothing. The fake-outs are layered up, one on top of another, ad nauseam. I’m sure by the next Conjuring or Annabelle film these things will be 6 or 7 fake-outs deep.

Already in this second Annabelle filmthis technique is a self-conscious parody of itself: you go through several “look over here!” scrolls or edits only to have the ghost/demon jump out of a third (or fourth, or fifth) place that wasn’t even shown before, because that would be too predictable! Need something new? Add another redirect. Ooo, is the demon in the corner? No! Behind the bed? Nuh-uh! Behind the main character? Nope! It’s actually up on the ceiling, because that’s scary now! Are you scared? People don’t walk on ceilings! Scaaaaary! Listen to this old low-fi record player playing some public domain jazz song! Ghosts!

The acting is, appropriately enough, terrible. Everyone, from the younger actors comprising the group of orphans, to the bereaved couple, to Sister Charlotte are just acting so hard you guys. And they’re all doing it terribly. Not that it’s wooden: it’s just unconvincing, unnatural, and poorly written. In fairness, it may not be the actors’ faults. The script is so bland and stupid that a rewrite by Shakespeare’s ghost possessing Stephen King’s body and a recast directed by a two-headed Alfred Hitchcock/Martin Scorsese hybrid starring Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Derek Jacobi, and seven clones of Dame Judy Dench couldn’t make it good.

Did I mention I hate this movie? I hate this freaking movie, you guys.

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