Cinemaholics Review: Annabelle: Creation


On this latest episode of Cinemaholics, I sat down with Maveryke Hines to review Annabelle: Creation, the new horror film out of “The Conjuring universe.” We also had a great conversation about our favorite horror films and started things off with a trailer breakdown of mother!, the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film.

Our conversation is spoiler-free up until the 40 minute mark, but after that is fair game. And I want to take a moment to mention a few podcasts we plugged this week that we encourage you to check out if you’re a fan of Cinemaholics.

Many of you already know and love Part-Time Characters since it’s hosted on this website. But we also mentioned The Legendarium Podcast, a fantastic resources for fans of fantasy books and the occasional movie review. I recently guested on their show to talk about The Dark Tower, and it was definitely time well spent.

There’s also Down the Hall, a great “take back movie night” podcast with recommendations for streaming releases from Chet and Rodney, plus celebrity interviews. Be sure to check them out.

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: Annabelle: Creation


‘Annabelle: Creation’ Is The Horror Prequel We Wanted Years Ago


Annabelle: Creation is the prequel to a prequel of an ongoing franchise of interconnected  paranormal movies. David F. Sandberg, whose directorial debut was the impressive Lights Out, takes what should have been a shameless cash grab and turns it into a horror film worthy of the Conjuring brand.

Go on…‘Annabelle: Creation’ Is The Horror Prequel We Wanted Years Ago

Second Opinion: The Best Trick In ‘The Conjuring’ Was Its Marketing

the conjuring opinion

What would you rather see? A horror film with a “PG13” rating for violence, some nudity, and language? Or a horror film with an “R” rating for being too scary?

This was the main hook for James Wan’s The Conjuring, which served as his spiritual followup to Insidious and perhaps even Saw for sheer inventiveness with the genre. The care he put into crafting a horror film where the horror comes first is probably what set The Conjuring apart for its hit box office run in 2013.

Even the incredibly loose “based on a true story” gimmick is underplayed here, as the movie centers around a couple of the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were actual paranormal investigators for decades known best for the story that became another well-known film, The Amityville Horror (along with its 2005 remake).

Set in the 70s, The Conjuring goes back in forth between point of view characters. First with the Warren couple (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) during some introductory exposition concerning the “Annabelle doll” case file, which was intriguing enough to green-light a standalone to release just a year later. The film then pivots to a standard haunted house narrative centered around a family with Ron Livingston and Lilli Taylor as the parents.

the conjuring opinion

Its the typical horror film fare with sudden noises, creepy atmosphere, and near-misses between ghost and human. But Wan prevents some of this familiarity to feel like fatigue, offering some much needed surprises in the form of his technique, always shifting perspective on the rooms and preventing the specters from getting too much facetime. Instead, we study the reactions of the humans who witness the supernatural for themselves, allowing us to fill in the blanks according to their fine performances.

None of these filming techniques are new when it comes to classic horror, but they’re a breath of fresh, foggy air for modern scare films that have adapted perhaps a little too much to the inviting world of “anything can happen” visual effects that are purely built in a computer. Perhaps it’s easy to accept the throwback nature of Conjuring due to the fact that its set in the 70s and has a slight filter that softens the picture.

While every performance is above grade here, there are some instances of somewhat forced drama used to round out the Warren couple, with lots of added dialogue concerning God’s purpose in their lives and how that will play into their marriage and family. Some of it works to contrast nicely with the chaos that ensues once they decide to aid the central family of The Conjuring, but the nicest thing to say about it is the fact that James Wan does a far better job with atmosphere and pacing than he does with living, breathing characters.

the conjuring opinion

Still, The Conjuring is one of the best horror films in the last few years, and mostly because of its restraint. As a result, the marketing for said movie (while inundated with the annoying Twitter quotes from screenings) was successful because of what it said about the love put into the film’s creation, rather than a forced superlative that would have sounded like white noise for most audiences.

(Second Opinion) Grade: A-

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

What is the Best Early 2000’s Superhero Movie?

This week on Agents of FILM, Maria and I debate over the best “Pre-Iron Man” superhero movie of the 2000s. We also review BoxTrolls and Gotham, discuss the new Big Hero 6 trailer, and let you know which new movies you can check out this weekend.

On the go? You can download the audio version of this podcast here.

Cool Things We Mentioned:

New Big Hero 6 trailer.
The Invisible Woman is adopted? 

Thanks for watching! You can see new episodes of Agents of FILM every monday by subscribing to us on YouTube or following us on Twitter (@AgentsofFILM).

9 New Movies You Need to Check Out This Fall

Hey guys, we have a podcast now! I started Agents of FILM with some fellow movie writers, and this is our first episode. Hope you guys like it.

If you prefer audio, then you can download the audio podcast here.

Otherwise, you can watch the full episode here: [for the main segment, skip ahead to 18:24]

Cool things we mentioned:


The Agents of FILM will return next Monday. Follow on Twitter @JonNegroni to stay updated.

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