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Annabelle: Creation
  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • WaterTower / 2017 / 49m

Annabelle was about the doll introduced in The Conjuring and a year after the main film got a sequel, now so too does its spinoff.  As its title suggests, it’s about the origins of said doll and, like the previous films in the series, has been phenomenally successful, with a box office return in its first month of over $250m, against its $15m budget.    The previous three films in the series have all been scored by Joseph Bishara, but this time round musical duties have fallen instead to the wonderfully talented Benjamin Wallfisch.  He came to people’s attention thanks to his lush, thematic scores to generally smaller projects, but oddly now he’s landed in Hollywood, most of the much more high-profile films he’s working on demand something entirely different, and this is the second of three horror scores he’s done in 2017.  There are some moments of warmth and melody – the pair of cues “The Mullins Family” and “A New Home” very early on the album being the prime example – but these are fleeting (those two cues run barely two minutes between them).

Elsewhere, there is a main theme, a swirling, spooky thing a bit like a deconstructed version of Basic Instinct, but there’s deliberately not much to it.  The vast majority of the score has one thing in mind: to scare.  Wallfisch achieves this aim almost exclusively acoustically, using various 20th century orchestral techniques very familiar to horror music fans, and so successful is he in achieving his aim for the score that it’s barely listenable away from the film.  It’s really deeply unpleasant music and while I’m sure it’s exactly what the director wanted and the film needed, it doesn’t function as a piece of entertainment on an album: it’s got so much dissonance, made up of so many well-worn devices that I just can’t take any pleasure from it.  I’m not going to criticise Wallfisch for writing such technically accomplished music, and some of the techniques he employs through the score really are seriously impressive (particularly with the brass); I just really don’t like it.

Rating:
*
Dissonant, oppressive horror music best left in the film

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  1. Geoff Leonard (Reply) on Friday 8 September, 2017 at 20:36

    I admire your frankness and honesty!

  2. Andre---Cape Town. (Reply) on Sunday 10 September, 2017 at 01:37

    Being a fan of horror films and an admirer of WALLFISCH, I viewed this very forgettable movie last week, and am surprised that an album of droning dissonances and stings was released. It`s inconceivable that such a talented composer would produce a score that is so dreary…so unimaginative. I suggest WALLlFISCH research the horror music created by MORRICONE and GOLDSMITH—these composers immersed viewers into a phantasmagoria of dread and terror with scores that are full of creative innovations.

  3. , Andre>>Cape Town (Reply) on Monday 18 September, 2017 at 23:49

    Firstly we had WALLFISCH scoring `A Cure for Wellness` > a movie of great terror and suspense morphing into a tatty horror climax. The music with female vocalise and adrenaline pounding orchestral ferocity was great. Then came `Annabelle:Creation`with a very forgettable score! Earlier today I saw `IT`>a Stephen KIng horror set in the small town of Derry, where a group of pubescent youths have to try and cope, not only their emerging sexuality, but also dysfunctional parents, vicious schoolboy bullies who enjoy carving their initials into victims` stomachs AND a shape-changing Clown intent on hunting them down and feeding on their fear. I loved WALLFISCH`S score > again we have a female vocalise… a lovely bonding friendship theme…. ominous suspense utterances…and thunderous orchestral clamourings as the youths battle the evil Clown.There were NO scary moments in the movie, but the score was marvelous.