James Wan continues to have the golden touch—as producer his Annabelle:Creation looks likely to be another solid hit in The Conjuring universe. When Wan directed the original Conjuring, he summoned an impressive $137 domestic box office on a $20 million production budget (source: The Wrap). When adding in marketing costs—likely around $20 million—that’s a $97 million profit before even factoring in the international box office take. Currently Deadline suggests that Annabelle: Creation‘s opening weekend alone will harpoon close to $40 million in the US (source: Deadline). When compared against its production costs of $15 million dollars, Annabelle is a better investment than Apple, IBM or any blue chip you could imagine—bottles of champagne are definitely popping at the offices of New Line Cinema this weekend.
Followers of the franchise know that Annabelle is one of the haunted relics that collected dustbunnies in the house of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren from The Conjuring series. This doll is really ugly and creepy, so it is hard to imagine that anyone would really buy this for their daughter. However, Annabelle: Creation takes us to the California ranch of a couple in the 1940’s that made a hefty profit in ugly dollmaking. Their daughter dies in an auto accident, so to fill the void a decade later they invite a gaggle of schoolgirl orphans to come live with them. The demon that inhabits Annabelle surely licked his chops as he sees the delightful Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) approach the house leading a group of young girls.
David Sandberg’s direction is solid and suspenseful, as he guides you into this house of horrors. The action builds slowly but surely, accented by solid performances from Sigman and several of the child actors playing the schoolgirl orphans. This is another solid hit for James Wan. I honestly wish he wouldn’t waste his time on pap like Aquaman and Fast and Furious, and just focus on horror.
Can I Take the Kids? It’s scary. They’ll need their night light for a couple weeks if you let them see this.
Verdict: Go see it.