‘Annabelle: Cre­ation’ is sat­is­fy­ingly spooky

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By KATIE WALSH Tri­bune News Ser­vice

What is it about dolls that is so scary? Just the sight of a loose doll eye­ball or a leg, sep­a­rated from its cor­po­real con­text, can send a shiver down the spine. Dolls are so eas­ily, ef­fec­tively creepy that the tossed off pro­logue of “The Con­jur­ing” gen­er­ated a break­out star. Now, the evil porce­lain doll Annabelle has a fran­chise of her own, with “Annabelle,” and the lat­est, “Annabelle: Cre­ation,” a pre­quel of a pre­quel that direc­tor David F. Sand­berg ably spins into a sat­is­fy­ingly spooky ori­gin story.

Sand­berg made a bit of a sen­sa­tion last year with his clever hor­ror de­but, “Lights Out,” and his com­mand of cine­matog­ra­phy, light­ing, pro­duc­tion de­sign and sound makes “Annabelle: Cre­ation” a fine heir to the legacy of “The Con­jur­ing” and “The Con­jur­ing 2” au­teur James Wan. Like Wan, Sand­berg uses com­puter gen­er­ated ghouls and de­mons spar­ingly, re­ly­ing in­stead on prac­ti­cal in-cam­era ef­fects like com­plex cam­era move­ments, sound, light­ing and fo­cus to hold, di­rect and re-di­rect our at­ten­tion, build­ing sus­pense and an­tic­i­pa­tion.

So where did this creepy doll come from? “Annabelle” writer Gary Dauber­man of­fers up a tale that fits like a jig­saw into the ex­tended “Con­jur­ing” cin­e­matic uni­verse. She was hand-crafted by a doll­maker, Sa­muel Mullins (An­thony LaPaglia), in the 1940s. Twelve years later, they open their home to group of young or­phan girls and their guardian, Sis­ter Char­lotte (Stephanie Sig­man), hop­ing to bring some life back af­ter mourn­ing the loss of their young daugh­ter, Annabelle, trag­i­cally killed in an ac­ci­dent over a decade ear­lier. The young women are grate­ful for their

See ANNABELLE Page C2

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF WARNER BROS. EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Talitha Bateman stars in “Annabelle: Cre­ation.”

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