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Annabelle: Creation by Benjamin Wallfisch (Review)

posted Sep 14, 2017, 11:56 AM by Kaya Savas

Benjamin Wallfisch has been having one hell of a year so far. And he still has Blade Runner coming up! Recently though he’s been flexing his horror muscles. And while A Cure For Wellness wasn’t really traditional horror, it had some wonderful storytelling elements that proved Wallfisch’s abilities to not fall into typical horror archetypes. After scoring Lights Out for novice director David F. Sandberg, Wallfisch is reuniting with him here as they seek out to expand the popular “Conjuring Universe”. Up to this point Joseph Bishara has been behind both Conjuring films and the first Annabelle spinoff. Bishara definitely has a distinct style, so it was interesting to have Wallfisch come in here and give his take on the spooky demon possession formula.

It’s important to address right off the bat that both director Sandberg and composer Wallfisch have inherited a franchise that is currently limping. Remember when Paranormal Activity was on #4? Yeah, we’re at this point in James Wan’s universe of creaky doors and jump scares. So with that in mind, Wallfisch did the best he could do with this tired formula. The score is effective if not really inspired. Descending strings and deep cello are used to make your hairs stand up and send chills down your spine, and that technique is tried and true. The score does an admirable job keeping everything wonderfully structured. It follows the film’s structure perfectly, adding moments of terror when needed and then backing off to let silence do its magic. However, the film becomes rather predictable since we’ve done this whole thing many times before. The filmmakers try all the familiar tricks to make you jump and creep you out, but none of it feels original or that engaging since the story itself is weak. That unfortunately trickles down to the score, the music inherits this lack of character development so all we’re left with is spooky and terrorizing strings that work with the film’s edit.

Annabelle: Creation is a fine distraction, but in a sea of horror movies it rarely does anything to stand out. Wallfisch does an admirable job trying to infuse this warmth at the start before plunging into hell, but the story itself is weak and uninteresting so the score has trouble pulling you in as well. All the creepy builds and terrorizing moments are there as expected, but nothing is terribly original. Wallfisch does some cool textural things during the truly terrorizing moments with this orchestral approach, but in the end we lack a true emotional investment in the characters so this score's whole purpose becomes to try and startle you rather than tell a story.