Written by: Daniel McDonald
Well, it’s here. The latest addition to the pantheon known to oh so many as “My heart will go WAN” (face it folks, they ain’t ever gonna get any better!). James Wan lit up one of the dark corners of the Horror Cinematic world with emphasis on atmospheric, bloody, visually arresting film, called SAW. Receiving fair to middling Cinema discussion, most agreed that the atmosphere, cinematographic style (camera work, lighting, angles movement) brought forth the public’s taste for and fascination with the Torture Porn genre.
Wan had an extensive list of TV credits, and after SAW’S success several ‘franchise’ relationships were developed on multiple projects.
Wan soon became the Midas Touch horror film ‘go to’ guy. His films are moderately budgeted horror thrillers that are popular enough and (by FAR more importantly) very solid moneymakers. Wan’s successes led very quickly, in not only directing projects but also credits for writing and especially the power that comes with the position of Executive Producer. Wan now has several franchise deals with various production and distribution studios.
His products garner successful press and are money making monsters. SPEAKING OF WHICH, we now come to Wan’s latest contribution to the horror market, ANNABELLE: CREATION. It is now very clear that Wan seems to be determined to connect two or more of his ‘horror children’ franchises with each other. Annabelle was given featured focus in Wan’s most solidly received project THE CONJURING. Looking back, it seems quite clear that ANNABELLE: CREATION had been percolating in the mind of Wan and the great good fortune of being helmed by David F Sandberg, the director of last year’s surprisingly rare PG-13 smash hit LIGHTS OUT. This film was a ‘pushing the PG-13 boundary,’ very stylish, extremely well put together ghost story that milked every ounce of fright possibility out of one of the oldest horror tropes in film history – the ‘now you see her, now you don’t ‘ quite powerfully used horror trope – light, shadow and darkness.
The original ANNABELLE was one of Wan’s Horror connection Universe. Director John R. Leonetti and writer Gary Doberman seemed to be light on style and talent. Reception for the announcement ANNABELLE’s ‘prequel’ was not as ebullient as the studio and creative team had hoped. The critical and financial welcoming of LIGHTS OUT helped boost anticipation for ANNBELLE: CREATION’s release. The fact that the horror R-rated elements weren’t trimmed to make the film more accessible to ‘tweeners’ (and BELIEVE ME, in Annabelle: Creation there were some violent screams during the screening I attended!!) was a plus. The twists and turns in the narrative are far too much fun to see how (duh duh duh duhhhh) the doll maker (so good to see Oscar nominee Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife and daughter (all of the young talent were exceptional, especially Ouija: Origin of Evil’s Lulu Wilson) are ‘worked into’ the previous installment and ongoing future… wha…? Who said that? Let’s just say the Marvel gang don’t OWN the ‘post credits’ sequence… Universe.
Sandberg really knows how to masterfully build suspense into some contrived script moments that could easily fail. As I mentioned earlier, tech credits are well above average (though you will see and HEAR some familiar things – as I always say, if it is successful in helping to add to A.C.’s fright potential – and sound and score are fused quite well – but can someone get the Horror community a F*****g CHIROPRACTOR please?). Which brings to mind an image so strongly conceived, executed and effective that it will stick with me as one of those, yell loudly at the screen as if you could actually help the situation you’re watching unfold – moments… believe me, no b*** ****…….I. J. S. …