4 September 2017

She's Such A Doll

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At the beginning of Annabelle: Creation we see a doll maker at work in his house as he sets about making his creepy fucking toys. Although I'll tell you what.. he lives in quite a big house. I mean, how much is he charging for these fucking dolls and who the fuck is buying them? They're genuinely horrible. Maybe parents might buy them as presents for their children as a way of letting their children know how much they secretly hate them, but still. I can only therefore presume that this doll-making business is a front and that he's actually stuffing their heads with drugs. Within the prologue of the film, we see his family is involved in a car accident in which somebody is run over and killed. Throughout the rest of the film, the whole thing is referred to as a 'car accident' too, however, I'm pretty sure that it must have been an intentional hit from a rival drugs gang. Anyway.. for some reason, this means one of his dolls is now haunted by a demon, or something. As a result, they lock it in a cupboard that has pages from the Bible stapled all over it. This might seem like the legitimate solution to the doll problem. However they kind of look like the sort of people that would attempt to solve most of their problems by locking them in the Bible page room too.

So this is the prologue to the film and so hopefully I've not spoilt too much for you there. We then cut to several years later where the doll-making family have gotten a bit lonely and so decided to invite a load of orphaned girls to come and live with them. For the first half of the movie not too much actually happens. We're shown around the house as the children are, with every room essentially being pointed out as having something that might scare us later. “Over there is the creepy water-well; here is the rickety old stair lift; let's go to see the sinister dumbwaiter; and finally I'll show you the forbidden room that you're not to ever go in”. I appreciate that this is all set-up but it did go on for long enough that I started to forget I was watching a horror movie in favour a big screen episode of Grand fucking Designs. Also if you're going to tell a gang of children not to go into a room you should probably tell them why, otherwise their curiosity is obviously going to lead them straight to it. When I was in school my friend was told by his Mum not to look in her wardrobe which obviously led him to believe that's where she was hiding his Christmas presents. Curiosity got the better of him and as a result, he ended up finding his Mum's fucking dildo.

In the film's defence however, I suppose I should add that whilst we're getting this thirty-minute tour of the house, we are also getting to know all of the characters. Well.. two of them anyway. There's one little girl that's obviously going to survive and another with a gammy leg which she presumably acquired in accident entitled 'the writers figured her limp might add suspense'. There are also about five other young girls but as far as the film is concerned they may as well be wearing fucking red shirts. Oh, and for some reason Laura Linney is in the film as the doll makers wife who has also been involved in an accident that's left her in need of a dolls mask over half of her face. I'm not sure why. I guess either the filmmakers thought that this would be creepy or Laura Linney charges for her acting by the eye. Anyway, as soon as the tour is over, the girls obviously explore and the creepy shit soon starts to happen to them. The doll maker and his wife seem surprised about this but let us not forget that they've got a haunted doll locked in a Bible room, so perhaps they shouldn't be too shocked about it. I mean, they knew that they lived in a dangerous situation and they still decided to use them home as an orphanage? That's kind of like Joseph Fritzl's basement-family inviting the local children around for a birthday party and then wondering if the door has jammed behind them or if Herr Daddy has just added to his collection.

From the director of 2016's excellent Lights Out, I'd like to say that this horror movie is better than the average slurry of crap that usually hits the silver screen. And compared to this year's The Bye Bye Man, Annabelle: Creation is the fucking Citizen Kane of mainstream horror bollocks. Which isn't me saying it's good, obviously. It's just that it isn't total crap. However, the interesting thing about it is that it's part of something that Hollywood is now tediously ramming down our throats, and that is a shared universe. Of course, this isn't a new concept, with horror movie icons having popped up in each other's movies all the way back to Universal's Golden-Age of the monster movie. However since 2008's Iron Man kick-started Marvel Studios money gobbling movie-thon, it seems that other studios have been fighting with crack-head levels of desperation to start their own. DC has the DCEU in which they ignored the slow build up strategy that Marvel took in favour of simply going all balls-in in a move that film-buffs refer to technically as “a massive fuck up”. Then there's Universals own attempts at kick-starting its own monster universe with The Mummy which failed at the first hurdle by forgetting to make a good Mummy movie and accidentally making a crap Tom Cruise one.

However in defence of Annabelle: Creation I actually think the universe-thing is working pretty well because they don't force the connections down your throat and the whole thing has happened quite naturally. For those who don't know, this whole thing started off with The Conjuring which featured the doll from this movie. Then there was the first spin-off movie with the doll, a second Conjuring film, this prequel to the original spin-off, and next, we'll have a Nun-focused spin-off to The Conjuring 2. So the connections between films are simply being made by having a central Conjuring franchise and then offshoots featuring the characters from those films. As opposed to having several completely separate films in which they attempt a connection by having a fat Russell Crowe attempt to recruit them for missions whilst doing his worst Ray Winstone impression. By doing the spin-off thing too we're therefore simply getting lots of different films featuring one or two of the original characters as opposed to the DC method of throwing as much shit at the wall as they can in one go and then wondering why they're just left standing in a room full of shit.

So like I said earlier, I'm not saying that Annabelle: Creation is particularly good. Rather that it's just not particularly bad which, when compared to most studio produced horror franchises, is actually pretty good. If you'd hooked me up to a heart machine, then beyond the fact that most of my veins are clogged with butter and mayonnaise, you wouldn't have noticed anything out of the ordinary during the scary scenes. At no point was I ever frightened, but nor was I ever bored or feeling any resentment towards the film for being shit. Although there was some dumb fucking bitch a few seats in front of me that spent most of the movie talking loudly to her hollow-headed pack of friends and playing on her phone. So there's a good chance that most of the energy I have for resentment was actually being focussed onto her and the fantasy that as soon as she leaves the cinema she'd walk straight in front of a fucking bus. As I was fighting the urge to jam my thumb into the soft part of her skull to quietly execute her, somebody else in the audience told her to “Shut the fuck up”. Once the film was over I heard her justify her cuntery as being because she “was frightened”. So perhaps to somebody that's not quite as desensitised to horror films as I am, Annabelle: Creation will deliver on the scares. However, there's also a very real chance that the reason she was “frightened” was not because of the film but rather that she couldn't find a snapchat filter to hide the fact that she resembled a lobotomised slab of skanky roadkill. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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