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Summer Closes Out With A Chilling Creation

Warner Bros. Annabelle Creation continues to provide genuine chills as the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe series of films. Produced by James Wan's Atomic Monster Productions (who previously collaborated with Warner Bros on Lights Out & Annabelle), Annabelle Creation serves as an origin tale of the creepy-looking doll.

Twelve years after their young daughter's death, Mr. & Mrs. Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia & Miranda Otto) decided to let a group of six orphaned girls and a nun move into their home. Mr. Mullins is a former doll maker, while his wife has become a bedridden recluse. The girls are delighted to be in their home. With two girls, Linda (the fantastic Lulu Wilson, fresh off the Ouija prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil) and Janice (Talitha Bateman), seems to be sisterly. Naturally, the girls are curious children and decide to explore the house, which creates a chain reaction of events, which leads to a good horror summer flick.

Director David Steinberg, who directed last summer's Lights Out, continues to grow as a director, particularly in the horror genre. While last summer's Lights Out was an excellent debut, Steinberg was limited to what he could do, given the film's PG-13 rating. With Anabelle Creation given the R rating, Steinberg can cut loose with the scares. Thankfully he doesn't rely on gore to scare his audience. Steinberg is more interested in the atmosphere, which gives the film a haunted house vibe.

Steinberg effectively brings the tension from Gary Dauberman's script to life. Dauberman, who also wrote, the highly anticipated It remake, has vastly improved over the work he did with the previous Annabelle film. Annabelle, while having some genuine scare moments, came off as more of a quick cash grab. In Creation's case, the studio has learned from their mistakes and improved on The Conjuring Universe by providing a detailed back story and connecting the two films with Dauberman's connection of the two films being crafted very well and satisfying to fans of the Universe.

The studio makes the wise choice to cast unknowns in the girls' roles, as I was able to identify more with the girls in their moments of terror, as opposed to if it was a known face. If I had one gripe about the film, it might be the running time. Creation is well made and worth the money, but few minor things could've been tweaked to shorten the run time. A fair share of shares, funny moments and an incredible Easter egg sets up the next film in The Conjuring Universe (2018's The Nun). Anabelle Creation is the perfect horror movie to close out the summer.

Final Grade B+

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