Some critics have finally seen this summer's big horror sequel Annabelle: Creation. And guess what? They're loving it! The fourth installment in The Conjuring movie universe, this follow-up to 2014's Annabelle spin-off is currently holding strong at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a rare feat not often achieved, especially with a low budget horror movie such as Annabelle 2.
That's not to say it's unprecedented. Earlier in the year, the surprise of the winter movie season turned out to be Blumhouse's thriller Get Out. It held onto a 100% rating for quite a few weeks upon immediate release. But such is all things on the aggregating review site, a few wayward reviews knocked it down to 99%. Not bad for a first time director and a movie with a social message.
Annabelle: Creation hasn't been widely screened yet. But the praise that has started to drip in isn't coming from some lofty horror hound locked in his abusive uncle's cellar. These are legit reviews. All the more surprising is that the first Annabelle, which was a direct spin-off of the blockbuster horror hit The Conjuring, sits with a dismal 29% rotten score. So even if the fresh meter on part two drops, this is certainly a huge improvement.
Annabelle: Creation follows a couple who are still grieving the death of their daughter. They decide to take in children from a local orphanage, but the family are soon terrorized by a demented doll known as Annabelle. Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, and Lulu Wilson star in this horror sequel from director David F. Sandberg. Sandberg made his audacious start with last summer's horror offering Lights Out. That movie currently sits with a fresh rating of 76%. So Annabelle 2 seems to be a jump in quality for him, as well.
At this time, Annabelle: Creation has just ten reviews, but three of them are from the top critics in the nation at The Wrap, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter. The Wrap kicks things off by saying this.
"he jaded may not join their more receptive moviegoers in arm grabbing, screaming, and loudly warning characters not to go in there, but they're still likely to smile at the elegant skill on display."
The Hollywood Reporter goes one better.
"Sandberg demonstrates a deft affinity for the elaboration of horror conventions, as well as the expansion of the Conjuring universe."
And finally, Variety critic Peter Debruge, who isn't known for giving easy passes, has these mostly nice things to say for Annabelle: Creation.
"This effective yet empty-headed horror movie goes to show how eager audiences are to be scared, and how even an unsightly doll can do the trick when the spirit is willing."
Now, empty-headed may be a slam. But this is summer, and audiences are hungry for popcorn movies and thrillers without a political agenda. Annabelle: Creation sounds like what American horror fans need right now, a little bit of fun. Popular movie sites such as IGN, Collider, Dread Central and Jo Blo have also heaped praise on the movie, so it must be doing something right. And it sounds like the movie could be one of New Line and Warner Bros.' big surprise hits of the summer. And this is coming on the heels of Warner Bros. having the movie of the summer with Wonder Woman, so the studio is winning in 2017, where it desperately lost back in the summer of 2016.
Annabelle 2 is the fourth installment of The Conjuring movie universe, which director James Wan kicked off in 2013 with The Conjuring. It currently sits at fresh with an 86% score. Annabelle arrived a year later in 2014, doing the franchise no favors with its rotten score of 29%. The Conjuring 2 came in 2016 and dropped slightly from its predecessor with a fresh score of 80%. Next up for this world is The Nun, a direct spin-off of The Conjuring 2 that arrives next year. It will be followed by The Conjuring 3, and a third spin-off franchise The Crooked Man. We're sure that Annabelle: Creation won't be able to hold it's 100% upon release on August 11, 2017. But it's nice to know it doesn't suck.