Annabelle: Creation

Annabelle: Creation ★★

The stock story we're saddled with in Annabelle: Creation is just a loose framework to hang spooky set-pieces on, and in that regard I was significantly disappointed here. A real shame since I found director David Sandberg's last film, Lights Out, to be quite a lot of fun with how it continued to take its one-note premise in many creative directions. The biggest problem plaguing this prequel-to-a-prequel-that-was-also-a-spinoff is that it just isn't remotely scary. The audience is here because they like The Conjuring movies, and Annabelle: Creation plays like a lazy greatest hits re-creation of those superior horror flicks: there's nothing here that you haven't seen before but better in those same other movies that made you want to watch this movie in the first place.
Not to mention in The Conjuring films, and Lights Out for that matter, we genuinely cared about the characters at the center of those stories and that simply isn't the case here. Also the dialogue is weak, the acting is troublingly inconsistent, the rules of this world don't make sense by the end, it contradicts the continuity of this supposed "The Conjuring universe" (*ugh*), the sound design becomes comically overbearing, and the approach to the horror sequences is lazy. Just watch The Conjuring and/or The Conjuring 2 instead… or Ouija: Origin of Evil if you need a period piece little girl possession movie itch that needs scratching.