Annabelle: Creation

Annabelle: Creation ★★½

In David F. Sandberg's directorial debut Lights Out he showed a strong grasp on technique, using lighting and camera work to fully utilize the space and dark corners to create some very impressive sequences, but he committed the cardinal rule for an effective horror film, don't break the rules you set up earlier in the film. Sandberg and company double down on his folly in his second directorial effort by not only abandoning any kind of perimeters that are set up in the film, but also making his antagonist an omnipresent force in the climax and showing the physical presence of his demonic being (in some laughably bad CGI rendering) early and often throughout the film, sapping the film of tension and horror. The characters are all written paper thin, so the audience is here for the thrills, but in the last half too much has been revealed and it's down right comical. Most of my theater was audibly laughing. Honestly, would have preferred they embrace the unintentional camp and have the Annabelle doll to grab a knife from the kitchen and start slicing and dicing kids as she throws out corny one liners. There are some really fascinating elements at play and an effective atmosphere created, so it's a shame it all feels rather wasted in the final act. 

Sandberg has some real talent behind the camera, so hopefully he can start making some better decisions in his narrative to match the technical qualities of his films, I think a departure from horror and a foray into another genre with Shazam might be what this young director needs.