When we were told that we were getting a belated sequel to Blade Runner, one of the most influential sequels of all time, I reacted with apathy. Why do we need a sequel thirty years after the original was released? Blade Runner might be very well respected as a film, but I couldn’t imagine many people buying tickets to see a sequel to it. And, of course, not many people have bought tickets to see a sequel to Blade Runner. It only making $30 million in its first weekend, compared to its budget of around $150 million. But I’d advise, nay implore, people who love cinema to watch Blade Runner 2049. What could have been worthless cash-in turned out to be one of the films of the year… Continue reading →
Kingsman: The Secret Service was a novel surprise back in 2014, an ultraviolent spy spoof that worked gloriously. In fact, it was so successful in what it did that a sequel wasn’t necessary. However, a sequel was thrust upon us. Could the sequel be a successful spy spoof that didn’t copy the outline of the first one? Could it spoof sequels? Could it give us a reason for its existence? My answer to all of the above questions is: no. It’s a mess, in basic terms. It adds nothing of substance to the Kingsman universe. A plodding pace, a silly storyline and incongruent scenes add up to an awful sequel. Continue reading →
mother! has courted a lot of controversy since it was first screened for the Venice Film Festival. It holds the crooked honour of an F Cinemascore, a score reserved only for the very awful films. It’s bombed at the box office after some questionable marketing. Paramount had to release a statement defending the release of the film! It’s not very often you see that happening. I saw a trailer for it that was laughable. However, nothing would stop me from seeing another Darren Aronofsky film. After missing Noah, I couldn’t let Aronofsky down! And what I witnessed was something I’ll never forget. Continue reading →
Stephen King’s IT is one of my favourite novels. I could read it over and over again until the end of time. The first adaptation of the novel, the 1990 TV miniseries, failed to do the novel justice, despite a great performance by Tim Curry as the novel’s main horror, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Twenty seven years later, we have been given a full-on Hollywood film adaptation (or, more accurately, a two part film adaptation). Does it do the novel justice? More importantly, does it deliver true horror? My answers to both questions are uncertain. There’s too much cut from the novel to do it justice (even given that it only tells the story of the children, not the children as adults). It also relies too much on jump scares and delivers an uneven tone throughout the film…
Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 was released on DVD/Blu-Ray here in the UK today! I did manage to watch it at the cinema, but felt uninspired to write anything about it. Yes, the film was alright…but’s that about it. It contained flashy and entertaining action sequences and a surprisingly emotional ending. Kurt Russell as Ego portrayed one of the best MCU villains out there. But the majority of it felt like an exercise in box-ticking rather than an attempt to improve on the original. Just like the soundtrack, GOTG vol.2 felt like a tired retread of the original. Continue reading →
Here we have a film, based on an extraordinary event in history, featuring sweat-inducing scenes of tension, bullet sound effects that burst eardrums, and a large cast that often aren’t even named. Oh, it’s also topical as well. I could be talking about Detroit, or I could well be talking about Dunkirk. The former comes at a time where racial tensions in America are high. The latter came at a time when all Britain’s going through Brexit. However, in my humble opinion, Detroit succeeds a lot more in the tension stakes than Dunkirk. I found myself bored by huge chunks of Dunkirk. For the second act of Detroit I squirmed in my seat for almost an hour. It maybe let down by a tonally jarring and dull third act, but essentially it’s a true horror story that makes you want to look away from the screen…but you can’t stop yourself from looking. Continue reading →
I’ll admit it: I haven’t seen Annabelle. Yes, I’ve watched both of The Conjuring films, but the spin-off about an evil doll seemed a little perfunctory to me. Malevolent dolls are a classic horror trope. I didn’t think Annabelle would do anything different to what we’ve seen before. Of course, one Annabelle film wasn’t enough. We needed a prequel to a spin-off, obviously! However, my curiosity was piqued by the decent reviews it was receiving. Those were misleading. It isn’t a terrible film by any means, just mediocre. It goes through all the motions of a haunted house/haunted doll film without adding anything special to the genre.
Annabelle Creation takes us back before the original Annabelle film. We open with the creation of Annabelle and a little girl being bit by a car. Twelve years later, the parents of the girl open up their house to a group of orphans and a nun. However, the dead little girl’s room is locked and spooky things start to happen. An orphan infected by polio enters her room to unleash paranormal activity…
I’m rolling my eyes just thinking about the set-up. It’s as generic as you can get in the horror genre. There are doors opening of their own accord, little girl subject to possession, religious symbolism, and lots of jump scares. Oh, there’s a scarecrow as well, which reminded me of that Doctor Who story ‘Family of Blood’ (speaking of Doctor Who, there’s a jump scare involving a bedsheet that reminded me a lot of one that occurred in the episode ‘Listen’). The jump scares are occasionally effective, but forgotten about soon after they make you jump. There’s only so many scenes of foreboding quiet before something appears out of nowhere that can be thrown on the screen, and Annabelle Creation stretches to breaking point to create jump scares.
But what horror films require is atmosphere. I can’t deny there is a quiet sense of unease in some parts of Annabelle Creation, but they are undercut by a plain script and a plot that laughs at believability. I don’t want to spoil too much, but you’ll end up wondering why the husband and wife thought it was a good idea to let a bunch of girls live in their house. That’s a common problem with stories about demons, spirits and ghosts, but the unfurling mystery of Annabelle Creation seems more ludicrous than most other horror plots.
“She was taken from us at an early age”
There’s promise beneath all the mediocrity, however, I wasn’t a fan of Lights Out, but it had potential, and the director shows potential here as well. David F Sandberg knows his way around a camera and a scene. There’s some innovation and intelligence behind the camera. Given some really good material, Sandberg could create a great horror movie. Most of the actors and actresses are one-note, apart from Lulu Wilson as Linda. She’s a very expressive young actress, who’s going to have a great career.
However, her appearance made me think of the far superior Ouija: Origin of Evil, last year’s horror prequel that sounded unnecessary, but actually served up an effective chiller. It didn’t necessarily toy with any genre conventions, but delivered on the promise of horror. Annabelle Creation is typical of a prequel driven by monetary concerns rather than creative concerns. There’s nothing notable about this prequel at all. It’s just there, delivering everything we expect without verve or pizzazz. We need more prequels like Ouija: Origin of Evil, rather than Annabelle Creation.
VERDICT: 5/10. Annabelle Creation is the definition of mediocre. It’s just about acceptable, ticking off horror boxes without thinking about them.
What did you think of Annabelle Creation (2017)? Leave your thoughts/comments below!
Click here for my review of The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Starship Troopers is twenty years old this year! I mean the film, not the book. Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel was greeted with critical disdain upon its release. Those fond of Heinlein’s novel disliked his interpretation of the text (and lack of power suits). Film critics disliked the fascistic overtones, bland acting, and simple plot. However, both parties misunderstood Verhoeven’s intentions behind directing Starship Troopers. He didn’t want to bow down before a science fiction classic. He wanted to be subversive and controversial. He wanted to turn the novel on its head and lace it with his own brand of brutal satire. In that respect, it was a success. Starship Troopers isn’t a classic science fiction film, but it’s pretty darn close. Continue reading →
Someday this tape will be played and then they’ll feel sorry.
I’ve been having something of a John Carpenter binge lately, watching both Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog (both of which I’ve never watched before!) I decided to take a look at Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star. Oddly, I was introduced to Dark Star during my first year of philosophy at university. The lecturer used to show us clips of science fiction films to explain certain philosophical concepts. He showed us the conclusion of Dark Star, where a man and a sentient bomb are talking about the meaning of life. It was only years later that I watched the whole film. While a rough piece of work, it’s still a great science fiction comedy. Continue reading →
Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s latest film. You know, that guy who directed The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception? He’s kind of a big deal. But apparently he’s veering away from fantasy and science fiction with this film about the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. According to Nigel Farage, Dunkirk is a move all youngsters should see. According to most critics, it’s a film all people should see. Yes, yet again, a Nolan film is receiving high critical acclaim. But does it deserve it? Continue reading →