The latest installment in the ever-expanding universe of films inspired by The Conjuring, Annabelle: Creation, hits theaters this weekend and is sure to bring with it the spooky scares you've come to expect from the various installments in the franchise.
In 2016, the Annabelle sequel's director, David F. Sandberg, gave audiences one of the more satisfying horror films of the summer with Lights Out, with the filmmaker making exquisite use of negative spaces and shadows to strike fear into the hearts of audiences.
One of the reasons Lights Out was a success was due to its PG-13 rating, which allowed more audiences to check out the flick without the risk of being turned away. Although the lack of blood and gore might have turned off some horror fans, the film's success proved Sandberg could shock audiences without buckets of blood.
When speaking with Bloody Disgusting, Sandberg revealed that one of his favorite scenes in Creation didn't require any blood to send chills up a viewer's spine, despite the film earning an R rating.
The sequence which the director has a fond connection with comes relatively early on in the film when the filmmaker used subtlety to craft his scares.
“One of my favorites is when Janice (Talitha Bateman) first finds the Annabelle doll with the sheet over
Interestingly, the first Conjuring earned itself an R rating for "sequences of disturbing violence and terror." With the lack of sex, foul language, or gore, the tough rating is a credit to just how frightening some of the images are.
As far as the rating of Annabelle: Creation was concerned, the director explained, "There weren’t really guidelines and there was no talk about rating beforehand, it was just let’s see what it winds up as.”
The Annabelle doll was first introduced in The Conjuring as a figure that was reportedly possessed by an evil entity. In that film, director James Wan didn't need to show the true identity of what possessed the doll, as its blank expression was chilling enough.
Sandberg, on the other hand, incorporated what the demonic presence actually looks like into Creation, which was a difficult task when he found so much success with subtlety.
“I still try to not show it too much, there’s that shot of the demon in the mirror, you know we added a lot of dirt to the mirror, warped it and stuff like that, just so it doesn’t get too clear because it can get silly if you see too much of it,” Sandberg explained. “So yeah, it’s kind of a hard balance. I know some people in Lights Out thought we showed too much of Diana and I can see that.”
James Wan might have gotten his start in horror, but thanks to his work on Furious 7, the filmmaker has become a dominating force in the world of action, currently filming the Jason Momoa-starring Aquaman.
Similarly, one of Sandberg's upcoming projects is the live-action adaptation of Shazam!, lending his filmmaking abilities to another corner of the DC Extended Universe. The filmmaker will also be returning to the series he helped start, crafting a sequel to Lights Out.
“I don’t know if there’s any particular ways but I’m learning more and more how to make movies, how to approach it,” Sandberg explained of his evolution as a filmmaker. “One of the things was on Lights Out, since it was my first movie and I wanted to make sure it was good so I would get to do more movies, I prepared like crazy."
He added, "I made all these shot lists, story boards and diagrams and everything and then you show up on set and those are thrown out the window because I really don’t have time to do it that way or there’s technical difficulties or you just come up with something better to do. So on Annabelle it was more like, let’s just figure out on set together, don’t over prepare and it worked out pretty well.”
With the amount of effects to be expected from a movie like Shazam!, the filmmaker might return to his outlook of preparedness.
The film's synopsis is as follows:
"Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.”
Earlier this month, the film's director, David F. Sandberg, revealed on Twitter that audiences should stay through the credits, as there are additional scenes both in the middle of the credits and following the credits.
Considering the Marvel Cinematic Universe has often used this technique to reveal ties to forthcoming films, this could potentially mean we'll get a tease at another film in the expanding universe or possibly imply we'll get a third Annabelle film.