8 items from 2017
For his second feature, David F. Sandberg really went all out for Annabelle: Creation, mixing up his bag of horror tricks to deliver a cinematic experience that just relentlessly comes at you with the scares once the titular doll is discovered and all hell is unleashed on anyone in her path. As far as prequels go, Sandberg has done a helluva job with Annabelle: Creation, and I commend the filmmaker for creating a clever and wickedly fun horror movie that surpasses its predecessor in numerous ways (akin to Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil last year). And, beyond that, Sandberg actually found a way to make the Annabelle doll super creepy, and I’m not one to be easily unnerved by evil inanimate objects. Well done all around, sir.
Annabelle: Creation precedes the events of Annabelle by more than a decade, when we first meet a doll-maker named Samuel Mullins (Anthony Lapaglia) and his family (Miranda Otto as the missus and Samara Lee as the adorable little “Bee”), who enjoy an idyllic life on their homestead until an accident claims the life of Bee, leaving her parents grief-stricken and despondent over their loss. After some time, they decide to invite a group of orphans who have been displaced to live with them, hoping the new residents will help bring some life into the otherwise empty-feeling abode.
But the Mullins quickly realize that bringing the children and their caretaker, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) into their home was a big mistake, as young Janice (Talitha Bateman) discovers a secret hidden away in Bee’s bedroom: an evil doll that seems to be hellbent on torturing the little girl, as well as her best friend, Linda (Lulu Wilson), and the rest of their fellow orphans. And that’s when things go absolutely bonkers in the best ways possible.
Sandberg proved he was more than capable of concocting some innovative, yet beautifully simple scares with last summer’s breakout hit Lights Out. For Annabelle: Creation, though, he steps up his game and devises some truly inspired scares, once again tapping into childhood fears to bring his beautifully twisted genre sensibilities to life.
Oh, and just because he’s dealing with children, don’t expect Sandberg to take it easy on the young protagonists in Annabelle: Creation. All the girls get their fair share of terror-filled moments to endure throughout the story, but it’s Bateman’s character, Janice, who really feels the brunt of most of it, being tortured by ghostly figures, creepy entities hiding in the shadows, an unseen force that tosses her nearly 20 feet in the air and then, just a short time later, drags her through an old barn as she’s trying to convalesce from the heinous fall. Beyond that, Sandberg also gives us one of the creepiest scarecrows I’ve seen in some time, and a few other unexpected otherworldly delights that I don’t want to go into much further, as it would probably ruin some stuff. But suffice to say, Sandberg and Annabelle: Creation earn that R rating.
At the forefront of Creation are Bateman and Wilson (who gave me chills with her turn in the aforementioned Ouija: Origin of Evil), who both deliver fantastic performances. The actresses share an infectious chemistry together, and I enjoyed watching their dynamic shift throughout the prequel, as poor Janice can’t escape being a punching bag for the evil forces lurking inside the Mullins house, and Linda desperately wants to help her friend, but isn’t sure of how exactly to do just that. The actresses have a natural camaraderie in Annabelle: Creation, which makes them easy to invest in as characters you want to see survive the horrors of the Mullins house.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing production design by Jennifer Spence for Annabelle: Creation (seriously, you could get lost in the details of the Mullins’ house), and the inventive and stunning camerawork from cinematographer Maxime Alexandre (who has also lensed a slew of other great modern genre films like High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake, The Crazies remake, the Maniac remake, as well as the dark comedy The Voices). The contributions of both creative individuals really elevate the overall look and feel of Annabelle: Creation, and it was easy to get immersed in Sandberg’s world because of their combined efforts.
And for those of you who are curious, Creation does tie into the original Annabelle and we also get nods to The Conjuring as well as the real-life haunted doll, too. I won’t go into specifics because I don’t want to ruin the fun, but for those of you on the hunt for some Easter eggs, Sandberg has incorporated several that you should definitely enjoy discovering in his latest project.
With Annabelle: Creation, Sandberg successfully moves the James Wan-iverse forward with an unyielding sense of glee, and I think he’s done something very special with his latest film. I may not have been someone who needed another Annabelle movie, but I’m so glad it was Sandberg who was behind it, because his pure passion for classic horror oozes through in every single frame, and I really had a blast with it. I wouldn’t call it “scary” by any means for those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe horror, but Sandberg has managed to create something of an entertaining roller coaster ride that never lets up once the director lets the evil in Creation go full throttle.
Movie Score: 4/5
The post Laff 2017 Review: Annabelle: Creation is a Clever Mix of Old-School Horror Tricks appeared first on Daily Dead. »
- Heather Wixson
You never know what will be waiting for you in the woods... In today's Horror Highlights, we have two clips from the upcoming thriller Without Name, as well as details on the Nitehawk Shorts Festival Selects program, Frontières returning to the Fantasia International Film Festival, and the official trailer for The Passing.
Without Name Clips: Press Release: "Los Angeles, California (June 16, 2017) - Global Digital Releasing has set a distribution date for the award winning dramatic thriller Without Name. The North American release will be across multiple digital and VOD platforms, beginning Tuesday, June 20.
The story follows land surveyor Eric (Alan McKenna). He travels to a remote, unnamed Irish woodland to assess its suitability for a new development project. However, the assignment it is not as simple as it could be. Intrigued by the woods’ foreboding mysticism, Eric finds himself drawn into a dangerous game that could lead to him becoming »
- Derek Anderson
Some urban legends are more reality than fantasy, as one teenager finds out in Don't Knock Twice, the new supernatural film starring Katee Sackhoff, and Scream Factory will release the IFC Midnight movie on Blu-ray / DVD this summer, first as a Walmart exclusive on June 6th before hitting shelves everywhere August 1st:
Press Release: A wild supernatural shocker that delivers a barrage of nonstop jolts and searing nightmare images, Don’t Knock Twice makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut as a Walmart exclusive on June 6th, 2017, from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight. The Blu-ray + DVD Combo will be available everywhere August 1st, 2017. This visceral film also includes a making-of featurette and the theatrical trailer as bonus features.
- Derek Anderson
If you've already seen The Autopsy of Jane Doe, you might think of it on stormy nights or whenever you hear the dinging of a bell, and soon you can add the latest film from André Øvredal to your home media collection, as Scream Factory will release The Autopsy of Jane Doe on a Blu-ray / DVD combo pack.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe Blu-ray / DVD combo pack will be available in the Us as a Walmart exclusive starting May 2nd, with its wide Blu-ray / DVD release coming later this summer on June 27th. No special features have been revealed at this time, but we'll keep Daily Dead readers updated on further details. In the meantime, you can check out the official press release and cover art below.
Press Release: Winner of Best Horror Film at Fantastic Fest 2016, the ominous thriller The Autopsy of Jane Doe makes its »
- Derek Anderson
In Nick Gillespie's Tank 432, all hell breaks loose when a group of soldiers finds themselves under attack from an unknown enemy, and you can witness the creepy carnage when Scream Factory and IFC Midnight release Tank 432 on Blu-ray this spring!
Press Release: Available April 4th, 2017 from Scream Factory in conjunction with IFC Midnight comes Tank 432, a mind-bending plunge into hallucinatory terror from executive producer Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High-Rise).
Under siege by a mysterious enemy in an apocalyptic, war-torn landscape, a band of mercenary soldiers, hooded hostages in tow, seek refuge inside an abandoned military tank. But their sanctuary soon reveals itself to be a steel-walled prison. As the group succumbs to claustrophobia, paranoia, and increasingly disturbing delusions, it becomes clear that the real threat may lie not outside, but within. The directorial debut from longtime Wheatley collaborator Nick Gillespie unfolds like a delirious, pulse-pounding puzzle.
About IFC Midnight »
- Tamika Jones
"They're always there. They're like ghosts," says George A. Romero. The Godfather of the Living Dead isn't referring to one of the ravenous monsters from his movies, but rather movies themselves... the ones he never got to make. Films that never made it out of Development Hell are the focus of Untold Horror, a new project from Dave Alexander and Mark Pollesel that features filmmakers—including George A. Romero, John Landis, and more—discussing their films and passionate ideas that never came to fruition.
In addition to reflecting on films that never came to be, Untold Horror is also helping to resurrect these passion projects, beginning with George A. Romero's The Little World of Humongo Bongo, a children's book that will be released later this year. To learn more about Untold Horror, we have the official press release with full details, as well as the series' trailer:
Press Release: (March 1, 2017 - Toronto, »
- Derek Anderson
Review by Stephen Tronicek
Is everyone an a-hole? The Us Grand Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival this year, I Don’T Feel At Home In This World Anymore, seems to be a very easy answer to that question, or at least a comforting distraction. Distraction, then again would be giving it too little credit. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore deserves every reward coming to it for its hysterical, yet sad script, pitch-perfect direction, and solemnly hilarious performances. After all, when asking such a difficult question of the audience it’s a good idea not to take yourself too seriously.
I Don’T Feel At Home In This World Anymore (which has been written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier bit part player and best actor of his kind maybe since Paul Giamatti, Macon Blair) follows Ruth (Melanie Lynskey, still as excellent as she was in Heavenly Creatures until… »
- Movie Geeks
One of the many films that was tangled up in the video nasty debacle of the early 80s, Don’t Go In The House tells the story of Donny, a somewhat disturbed man who lives under the thumb of his overbearing and sadistic (in the sense that she likes to burn his arms on the stove) mother. That is until his mother passes away and Donny’s already disturbed psyche finally cracks. Living only with the voices in his head, Donny seeks out female companionship, only his idea of bringing a girl home to meet mother entails tying them up in his steel-walled burning chamber!
- Phil Wheat
8 items from 2017
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