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Warning: mild spoilers ahead for Annabelle: Creation! Read ahead at your own risk!
Like a demonic doll possessed by the spirit of a dead child, inspiration can strike anywhere at any time. A filmmaker may think that he or she has an entire film all planned out, but there's no accounting for unexpected moments of brilliance. As it turns out, that's what happened on the set of Annabelle: Creation. I recently had a chat with cinematographer Maxime Alexandre about the film, and he admitted that the scene in which Linda fires her toy gun into the dark hallway came from a dream of director David F. Sandberg. He laid out the experience to me and explained:
It was this amazing experience to work with a director like David. I'm not selling the project. Working with someone that talks about ideas. You know that scene where the little girl is sitting on the chair with the gun and the red ball, shooting. That scene, one day, David just had an idea of it and said 'I had a dream that happened and I'd like to try and make something happen.' And he called [Gary Dauberman], Gary wrote something with him, and it happened. And that just gives me goosebumps when I'm thinking about it. You're used to working on so technical page by page, then 'I had a dream, let's make it happen.' And the scene is awesome.
Movie sets are typically very regimented, and most sequences are fairly well thought out in terms of planning and logistics. That's what makes this scene from Annabelle: Creation so interesting. David F. Sandberg merely dreamt of a sequence in which a character continuously fired a toy gun into a darkened hallway, and he found a means to make it work for Lulu Wilson's character in a way that made sense within the confines of the story.
One thing that this can instantly tell us is that David F. Sandberg is becoming much more comfortable as a filmmaker. During a chat that I had with the filmmaker about working on Annabelle: Creation (which is only his second feature film to date) he told me that the biggest change from Lights Out to Annabelle was his willingness to let go and be less meticulous in his planning process. As a result of that looser style, we ended up with one of Annabelle: Creation's best scenes. I guess it pays to remain flexible in the world of horror movies.
It's becoming increasingly apparent that creative flourishes such as this have become one of the reasons for Annabelle: Creation's overwhelming success. With a $35 million opening weekend, the horror prequel has achieved considerably greater critical acclaim than its predecessor, and it has seemingly solidified The Conjuring franchise's raw potential as a legitimate cinematic universe. With more Conjuring-inspired films on the way within the next few years (such as The Nun and The Crooked Man), let's hope that future directors in this franchise can remain as flexible as David F. Sandberg was on the set of Annabelle: Creation.
Annabelle: Creation is now in theaters, so make sure to check it out while you still can. Looking ahead to the future, take a moment to look at our movie premiere guide for more information on the rest of 2017's major theatrical releases, and keep yourself up to date on all of the upcoming projects from The Conjuring universe.