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Annabelle: Creation


Stars: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, Lou Lou Safran, Samara Lee, Tayler Buck, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Mark Bramhall

Director: David F Sandberg

As friends of Chucky and his ilk will tell you, devil dolls are a horror movie staple, made all the more popular these days because of splendid movie magic that makes the murderous figurines all the more terrifying (and, on occasions, rather more credible than their flesh-and-blood co-stars, too).

(Ironically, perhaps, the lack/cost of effective special effects led to a human jockey being briefly used as a double to make it look as though the homicidal ventriloquist’s dummy in the classic 1945 chiller Dead of Night had actually came to life and moved).

Here the demonic doll introduced by James Wan in 2013’s The Conjuring and who returned the following year in Annabelle is backs in a sure-fire shockfilm effectively created by screenwriter Gary Dauberman to flesh out (probably the wrong phrase to describe a living doll) the backstory, revive a patently profitable franchise and provide the producers with a box-office success.

Mission accomplished for horror film fans and for normal filmgoers with a taste for terror.

A dozen years after the death of their seven-year-old daughter in a accident, former toy maker La Paglia and his wife Otto open their isolated farmhouse home to six young orphan girls and their nun minder, Sister Charlotte (Sigman).

“It’s a castle”, say the orphans when they first see their Olde Worlde-looking home and it doesn’t take long for their lives to achieve scary Gothic-style dimensions when, all too soon, leg-brace wearing youngster Bateman is being terrorised by the anticipated killer doll, along with some even more evil creations, notably a malign Punch and Judy, to say nothing of a demonic hound, a TV that doesn’t work while the radio does and the usual panoply of weird sounds and flickering light

While, as expected, nun Sigman ("There isn't anywhere else to go!") finds the deviltry hard going, at least she doesn’t burst into song, Julie Andrews-style!

The cast keep commendably straight faces in in face of mounting devilry and, while the film may not be art as we know it, Sandberg’s relentless direction (making good use of the vintage song ‘You Are My Sunshine’) and Gary Dauberman’s serviceable screenplay, along with effective special effects, ensure that plenty of chills and thrills ensue, performances are on target and Bateman does all that’s required of her.

Sequel(s) guaranteed.

Alan Frank

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Sep 2017