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Annabelle: Creation (Blu-ray Review)

Wvhen The Conjuring scored big back in 2013, one of the big takeaways from that film was the creepy doll in the opening scene named “Annabelle”. Said doll was the subject of its own spin off film that also was a huge hit despite very poor reviews.  The Conjuring got its own sequel later on and naturally Annabelle has now received her own follow up. Once again, she scored a success, topping over one hundred million dollars in the US and over three hundred million bucks worldwide, easily pulling past the original’s take. Those totals are right in line with the regular Conjuring movies too. This world of horror cultivating from the case files of Warren’s research is very much alive and well.  Another spin-off series is in the works and on the way with The Nun next year. But first, let’s take a look on Annabelle: Creation, which was the summer’s top horror film.

Film 

Former toy maker Sam Mullins and his wife, Esther, are happy to welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. Years earlier, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter Annabelle died in a tragic car accident. Terror soon strikes when one child sneaks into a forbidden room and finds a seemingly innocent doll that appears to have a life of its own.

Sometimes maybe its all in the hands of who is crafting a film. While I did not care for the first film in the Annabelle series, I wasn’t really against its story or ideas on display in it. That film just felt like your generic, studio commercial horror film (Sorry for the generality, I’m not against big studio films in the slightest, but follow me) where its the kind of “Horror film for people who don’t watch horror films” type of deal.  It did carry the R rating, but had lots of dumb boo scares and not a lot that warranted (In my eyes) that full on rating, just like the first Conjuring movie.

Moving on now to Annabelle: Creation, we go the prequel route and get much better hands in directing the film, which doesn’t have an “incredible” story to it, but its tied together in how well the thing is show and staged. Many of the film’s sequence are pay offs to some really fine set ups that took their time to give us geography, back story and little visual key details throughout. The film also has a lovely, haunting darkness to how it looks that is pretty creepy on its own. It helps when your director is the guy who made Lights Out, an awesome horror movie and one of last year’s biggest highs in the genre.

Annabelle: Creation has a neat little back drop of a story with orphaned girls in a house with a spooky, tragic past and the Annabelle doll in the mix. I honestly was reminded of Curse of Chucky for some reason throughout this (That’s a GOOD thing). While the film is a part of The Conjuring universe, it is only concerned with being an Annabelle movie and doing its best to tell this one complete story (And neatly working its way to the first film). Cleverly, there is a tiny nod and set up for the upcoming Nun movie, but its really quick and only distracting enough to give you a grin if you know what it is. Its what successful cinematic universe building should be.

Similarly to the Ouija movies, Annabelle’s second outing goes backward, telling an origin story and has much more success, improving the series.  Easily this movie tops the original and easily is it one another good horror film this year. Prior to this, I could have cared less if they made any more Annabelle films.  Now, I won’t mind seeing another one if they do make it (I’m sure they will).

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Annabelle’s sequel “creates” a terrific looking image on her Blu-ray debut. Its a darker, sharp and detailed picture that is a comforting looking haunt. Light bulbs give off a nice glow and the daytime scenes look veyr nice. Details on fabric textures and surfaces like wood grain, wear on painted wood and more come through very naturally.

Depth:  Solid distancing between background and foreground, especially in some of the interior stairwell sequences. Movements are cinematic, natural and contain no troubles with blurring or jitters in quick/rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite deep and rich in this image. Details are held onto pretty strong while displaying some very haunting darkness, shading and good definition in the image. No crushing witnessed during the review for the film.

Color Reproduction: This film features a more natural palette on display. There are a lot of variations on whites/creams with browns and other rustic colors. Reds and blues can stick out when appropriate.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and maintain a consistent appearance from start to finish. Facial details like makeup, lip texture, tear stains, freckles and more come through quite well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  Annabelle: Creation spells quite an intense and loud experience in your viewing area as the girls are tormented at the farmhouse. This mix is masterful in its presentation of foley sound effects as they are full, lifelike sounding with plenty of clarity, layering and depth to them. It helps to have them take the spotlight in a balanced mix with the score and vocals. Its an intense beat down of your senses when the supernatural elements really kick into gear.

Height: Ceiling sounds aren’t abused or forced. Things are kept to a more natural aesthetic and there are some good moments of ambiance (Some good creaks and cracks).

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer really puts in the work, especially in the big musical sting/jump scare and ramping intensity in the score moments. Crashing, slamming into things and engines also give off a nice hum.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a playful mix that knows how to have some fun with the viewer. A lot of it emanates from the front with good back and forth, but just as soon as you’ve got it figured out, it’ll have some fun with you in a quiet moment with a side or rear speaker. Placement, distance and movement are all accurate to onscreen action.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are loud, crisp and clear with good attention to diction.

Extras 

Annabelle: Creation comes with the DVD edition and an UltraViolet digital copy.

Commentary

  • By Director David F. Sandberg

Deleted Scenes Featurette (HD, 12:04) – Director David F. Sandberg gives commentary over deleted scenes as to why they were cut and how some of them relate to one another.

Directing Annabelle: Creation (HD, 42:41) – David F. Sandberg says that if you’re interested in seeing what a “weird Swede with a resting bitch face” looks like directing, then this is for you. This is an incredibly useful and educational feature where Sandberg really goes into his craft, and methods in a very personal and sharing sense accompanied by a lot of on-set and behind the scenes footage to back and demonstrate what he’s discussing.  Its a very unique and well done piece that is almost worth picking this release up for alone.

The Conjuring Universe (HD, 4:51) – James Wan starts by talking the idea of crafting a universe out of the Warren artifacts and then it shifts focus to Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation. Really swift and softball, but fun.

Horror Shorts: Attic Panic (HD, 3:10) – A short film from director David F. Sandberg with (and starring) his wife Lotta Losten.

Horror Shorts: Coffer (HD, 3:09) – Another horror short from the husband and wife duo

Summary 

Annabelle: Creation is another terrific horror movie in a year full of terrific horror movies. It tops the first one easily and is a really fine treat as a standalone film. Coming to Blu-ray, it features a terrific video and audio presentation that should really get the horror elements visually and audibly pulsating nicely in your home theater. Along for the ride are some decent extras too. Its an easy pick up, but its also one you know is going to be on sale in the near future (Black Friday, maybe?). I think its worth full price, but maybe you want it to come down just a hair.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Annabelle: Creation (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. ben wise

    does all blu ray of annabelle have the extended footage in the film is it the same for 2 conjuring on blu rays