A Prequel and a Remake

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I am a fan of movies, but I am not a fan of the movie theater. You know that by now. The theater is actually a marvel of evolution to me. With instant access to entertainment, people still flock to the theater and pay too much for snacks for the big screen experience. That actually gives me hope that interacting with other humans isn't a lost art, even if manners are. My usual cadence is about one movie theater screening per year, and I am definitely off my routine this year. Three films since August - what happened here?

It happened. I sort of got the bug early this year while waiting not-so-patiently for It. So we followed up a disappointing scary movie night with Annabelle: Creation. Admittedly, this prequel was a risky choice to exorcise the bad movie demons, but like you I am a sucker for a good trailer. I can watch the Trailer channel for hours, it's embarrassing.  

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In contrast to our previous experience, there was no lack of woofer-heavy scenes to set you back in your seat. Scares that increased in intensity and frequency that we love in our movies. And just when I started to think this prequel was disconnected from its successors, simply exploiting everything that is naturally creepyabout a grinning porcelain doll, there it is. The connection and the redemption. No spoilers here, you'll have to find out on your own, and I will also suggest that you keep watching after the closing credits roll. I will admit that I re-screened Annabelle the following weekend and that movie jumped in my ratings from "meh" to a moviefest regular.  Does it help that the actress has the same name as the cursed child in The Ring? Yeah, let that sink in. 

According to the trivia, some moviegoers went to the Annabelle prequel just to see a 4-minute clip from It. I am pretty dedicated to my horror - and I thought pretty dedicated to It being as how I finished re-reading that 1200 page sucker two days before the movie. But I wouldn't drive an hour and sit through a movie I didn't want to see for a four-minute thrill. But then, I don't go to Disneyland, either. 

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The clip is right out of the book - give or take a few lines but it truly honored that terrifying scene where Georgie follows his boat into the sewer and meets the clown. And what a terrifying first scene in the full-length film. I loved it immediately. 

You know how you read a book and then see the movie and spend most of the movie making comparisons to the book and leaving disappointed? I had totally set myself up for that after investing four weeks in the book. But that didn't happen. I mean, there were contrasts, omissions and additions, but none of that mattered because the screenplay totally captured the story without having to repeat words and scenes directly from the book. I have no idea how that happened and I found myself enjoying the film for what was different as much as for what was true. I was really pleased that the screenplay left out that weird scene at the end when the children are lost in the cave. You read the book, you know the scene. I have no idea what Stephen King was thinking when the wrote that into the book - it was awkward and added nothing to the story.

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I was also curious how they were going to cram 1200 pages into a 2:15 movie and I sort of thought I was a genius for suggesting that this movie would contain only the part where the children encounter the shape-shifting demon. Thus setting up a part two where the adults return for a rematch. Just as I pat myself on the back, I learned that that is exactly the plan and it is no secret. Still, I'm a genius, right?

27 years ago, the television series was released; the remake this year is no accident. And now that we know it is coming back for another round, will they be able to keep up the scares? Will this rematch succeed where the original failed? I think so and not just because I hope so. This screenplay was done so well that transition from the book to the screen is seamless. I have no doubt the writer, producer and director will pull it off a second time. I can't wait. In the meantime, I will see this movie again. And again. I suggest you do the same.

Next up . . . the season begins.