‘Annabelle: Creation’ mostly rattles off horror-movie cliches

I don’t watch a lot of horror movies. Nothing against them, it’s just that anything haunted, possessed or psycho-killer-y rarely holds my interest.

Having said that, given the choice between reviewing “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature,” a sequel to a movie I didn’t see that screened on a Saturday morning with a bunch of noisy kids, or “Annabelle: Creation,” a prequel to a spinoff of two movies I didn’t see that screened at a reasonable hour, well, the creepy doll movie wins every time.

Although there was still at least one crying baby at the R-rated horror show, because people are awful.

“Annabelle: Creation,” focusing once again on the doll introduced in 2013’s “The Conjuring,” opens in the 1940s with toymaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) in his workshop. He puts the first of a limited-edition doll in its box before walking home to his loving wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), and beautiful daughter, Bee (Samara Lee). After moviegoers get to know them a bit thanks to a disturbing game of hide-and-seek, Bee dies in an accident.

Cut to 12 years later, and Mr. Mullins and his now-bedridden wife have invited six orphaned girls and a young nun to live with them, which seems like a perfectly natural thing to do.

Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) gets her own room. The four older girls — Carol (Grace Fulton), Nancy (Philippa Coulthard), Kate (Tayler Buck) and Tierney (Lou Lou Safran) — snag one that’s the equivalent of a palatial suite. That leaves the polio-stricken Janice (Talitha Bateman) and her best friend, Linda (Lulu Wilson), to share a bunk bed in a spare room surrounded by doll parts.

There are heaping helpings of Catholic guilt in “Annabelle: Creation.” Janice utters a “Forgive me, Father” before opening the door to Bee’s room, which she was warned against. That’s where she discovers Annabelle in a locked closet. The next morning, she confesses her sin to Sister Charlotte.

For the most part, though, things play out like horror-movie bingo: Doors creak open and slam shut, lights flicker, violins screech, and despite seeing some freaky things that would cause any sane person to leave that house for good, Janice keeps returning to Bee’s room, because that’s what you do in a horror movie.

One night, as a body bag is being taken out of the Mullinses’ home, Sister Charlotte — which, the more I type it, sounds like a good name for a rock band — announces, “Go get ready for bed, girls.” Because that’s also what you do in a horror movie.

The only character with a lick of common sense is Linda, the youngest. Seeing something malevolent, Sister Charlotte asks, “What is that?” Linda’s response: “Who cares? Run!”

Director David F. Sandberg (“Lights Out”) and writer Gary Dauberman (“Annabelle”) deliver a couple of legitimately creative scares as well as some authentically haunting imagery, and the period setting offers a nice change of pace.

As the guy sitting behind me said of the house’s dumbwaiter during his running commentary, “That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” It’s a good thing he didn’t live in the 19th century, or he’d have died of fright.

Speaking of crowd noise, every time Annabelle turned up on screen, most of the audience let out full-throated screams. The movie is literally about a possessed doll. Her name’s in the title. You know she’s going to be there. It made as much sense as blowing out a lung by yelling every time an engine roars in a “Fast and Furious” movie.

“Annabelle: Creation” clocks in at an hour and 49 minutes, including two post-credits scenes, yet I’ve seen more unsettling content in the opening montage of a typical season of “American Horror Story.”

Maybe I haven’t seen enough bad horror movies to appreciate “Annabelle: Creation.” But I just didn’t get what all the screaming was about.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like