Annabelle, why you be so creepy?

annabelle creation

She strikes again! The creepy doll that is a potent scare fest material for the sleepless nights that you might have had after watching her in the previous films, is back!! And this time, she is just a treat for anyone who is a horror genre fan. Annabelle: Creation, the latest addition to the Conjuring Universe (yeah it is a thing now!) that tells the story of the doll’s origin, possession and transit through the years, has all the essential elements of sending chills down your spine. There are jump scares, there are throwbacks, there is atmospheric eeriness and yes there are long long close up shots of that doll. Oh and before I forget, there are mid and post credit scenes. Yeah well now every movie wants us to go through those endless credits. (Fun game idea in the end– Aha! Did you see what I did there?!)

So, there are a lot of jump scares in the first half. If you are more of a lightweight around horror movies, then you would be crapping your pants throughout. However, the second half has more weight. It has the backstory, the plot has some character development especially between the two main girls and yes it finally reveals the origins of the doll that has been haunting you for a long time now. The atmospherics of the movie leverage the period set up to the fullest and brings about the same impact as The Conjuring movies. In addition to that, the movie uses two things quite aptly- sound design and cinematography. The music adds layers to the effectiveness and is close to what solid background did for The Shining. When the movie is not jump scaring you, it is playing with you through shadows, imagery and camera angles. And that is all that is needed to make it a good watch.

This is a definite valuable addition to the universe that James Wan is aiming to create (like I said; everybody wants to be Marvel; CASH GRABBERS!). It is everything that the first Annabelle wasn’t. And even though it works as an enjoyable standalone movie, it connects aspects of other entries in the series quite well. It leads to the events of the first Annabelle movie, Valak (the demon from Conjuring 2) makes a special appearance and teases the upcoming spin off- Nun and we get to see the actual Raggedy Ann doll that the Annabelle series is based on. (#TriviaTime The real Annabelle doll that resides in a glass chamber at Ed and Lorraine Warren’s museum is not the porcelain doll that the movie features but a Rag Doll. Look at this innocent looking doll and then think of all the creepy stories around it. Just look at it!!!)

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Now those are all good things but there is an essential problem with this formulaic approach too. The problem, which has greater impact if you are a horror movie fan, is that you almost know what is going to happen in most of the scenes. The crippled is going to be the most affected, the demon is going to vomit some black goo and possess, there are going to 3-4 girls who will just be there to scream (shriek), etc. etc. but that in no way takes away from how entertaining Annabelle: Creation is. All in all, the movie is a must watch for anyone who enjoys classic scary horror movies that keep you at the edge of your seats. If you are looking for subtle imagery, a thick storyline, immense character development then this might disappoint you. It is not as good as the first Conjuring but comes real close. I have to give a shout out to the director of this one- David Sandberg, who also directed Lights Out, for an amazing job done.

Hits- Jump Scares, Direction, Sound Score, Cinematography
Misses- Formulaic, change in the doll’s appearance from the earlier movies (which might only be a thing for an ardent follower)

Oh yeah, the fun game- so in any movie which is heavy on VFX and special effects- get your friends to locate Indian names in the crew list. It is fun and makes you wonder why these talented people are not working for Indian studios that suck at special effects.

Let’s talk about Dunkirk, shall we?!

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I should start this with a disclaimer that this is in no way a review but only a perspective on what I thought of the movie that is being credited as one of the best war films of all times- Dunkirk. First and foremost, you see how cinema has the power of bringing out chapters from history that half the world did not have a clue about? You do? Yes? Yes. Such is the enigma of movies- you get exposed to stories from parts of the world you have no connection to, parts of society that do not impact you at all but to all of that strikes a connect with the humanity in us at so many different levels. Dunkirk is based on the real life Dunkirk evacuation during World War II and is almost a documentary-style representation of the events from three different perspectives- the land, sea and air.

The film does not talk too much. That might be unsettling for a lot of people but the beauty of it is that it almost nullifies the need to present the audience with redundant exposition. It’s a war, there are soldiers, they are fighting for their survival, it is what it is and there is no need to have patriotic dialogues in-between the action to drive the point home. The situation in itself is inspiring. The civilians who contributed to the evacuation are enough to show what it meant for them at that point and in the film of course. The audience is transported to this world of vast water body, unending horizon, constricted boats, stuffed cockpits, a constantly thrilling background score by Hans Zimmer- all at the same time. It is an experience in itself.

But that’s it. If you are into war films like Border and LOC Kargil then this might not be the best bet for you. There is no “Suno jaane wale…laut ke aana” or “Sandese aate hain…”, there is no drama, there is no ‘story’ and there is no cathartic THE END! (If you consider finally seeing Tom Hardy’s face in a beautifully shot scene near the end, then maybe yes.) And if you thought oh poor Tom getting no limelight, the film does not indulge Harry Styles at all either. Watch this one for the sheer scale and expertise of the makers. You are bound to wonder how they shot some of the scenes for sure. And if you are a Christopher Nolan fan, then this is pure gold for you. You know his style, you know how he makes his cinema and you know what not to expect from him. And he will still amaze you. Watch it at an IMAX theatre if you can.

And if you are really looking for a loophole in the movie- this smiling extra fail might interest you a little-

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Hits- Scale, Direction, Technical Expertise, Authentic set up, Background Score
Misses- Disconnect with characters, Drama

(Picture Credits- Wikicommons)