MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on target Is Annabelle Creation good?Yes!Wait – for real?I’m as surprised as you are.What happened?From the looks of things, they hired a good director with something to prove (David F. Sandberg, late of the solid Lights Out and currently slated to helm that Shazam movie Warner Bros still claims to be making). And let him take a Mulligan on the whole “origin of Annabelle” concept – so this is the prequel to the prequel (ugh!) to The Conjuring, but it’s largely free to do its own thing.What’s the story this time?Set 12 years prior to the first Annabelle, the story follows a group of children (and one nun) from an overfull girls’ orphanage who move into the isolated rural home of a former toymaker and his bedridden wife. You will be unsurprised to learn that the house is the middle of nowhere, riddled with secret passages, hidden compartments, creepy mood-lighting and features no less than TWO separate rooms that no one is supposed to ever, under any circumstances, go into. They go in them anyway – which is how they discover the locked-away Annabelle doll and set a bunch of nasty haunted-house business in motion.It’s been a while, so refresh my memory: What’s the deal with the doll, again?There isn’t really a “deal” with the doll itself, which is why you have to assume this is tricky material. Annabelle is “iconic” because, despite being an incidental subplot in The Conjuring, she was the main “monster” from that movie you could put in advertising materials that weren’t a spoiler. The basic idea is that there’s a powerful demon (of the literally-from-Hell variety) “attached” to the doll, so instead of being a Chucky-esque “killer toy” Annabelle is basically a prop whose presence excuses demonic happenings in the general vicinity of wherever it happens to be. We’re eventually told how/why said demon came to be connected to the doll, but the “origin” in this case is how it got itself into circulation in the wider world.So why is this one better than the first one?It’s a standard setup, yes, but the conceit of making most of the main characters young girls does make a lot of the “why would you do that!?” stuff that needs to happen for the plot to commence more easy to forgive because, well… KIDS. The film understands that its real job is packing as haunted-house/scary-ghoul set pieces into about 90 minutes as it can while keeping the characters exactly compelling enough so that we don’t want to see them get killed and zigging when we expect it to zag. It also has the foresight to pull some plot and character-turns I didn’t see coming; including a doozy that arrives at the midpoint and neatly divides the story into two halves based on which of the characters we’re following around as the “main” one. And while some of the gags are pretty typical, they’re also pretty well executed: How many movies can still make a “spooky scarecrow” or “old dark well” bit work in 2017?What doesn’t work?It avoids it pretty deftly for a lot longer than you’d think. But eventually, there IS the inevitable point where it makes NO sense for them to stay in the house but they do anyway because Act 3 needs to happen. So even though this is much better haunting movies tend to slip up, it’s still disappointing to see when things had been going so well. There’s also a small but none the less grating scene that only exists to clumsily remind us that there’s a whole other Conjuring spin-off separate from this coming up next that’s awkward as hell.Should I see it?If you’re a fan of scary movies, sure – you never know how long the wait will be until the next one of these (in theaters) is actually good.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.