Annabelle: Creation - Panel Discussion
With Kutter Callaway, David F. Sandberg, Dr. Craig Detweiler, and Father David Guffey, C.S.C. on August 11, 2017

On Wednesday, August 9, we were happy to host a panel discussion preceding a screening of Annabelle: Creation. Dr. Kutter Callaway led the discussion, entitled "In Defense of Evil," between the director of Annabelle: Creation, David F. Sandberg; Dr. Craig Detweiler, Director of the Center of Media, Entertainment and Culture at Pepperdine University; and Father David Guffey, C.S.C., the National Director of Family Theater Productions. We're pleased to share a video of the that conversation below.

We'd also encourage you to read Kutter Callaway's more detailed review of the film, which gets into more specifics on how the film deals with spirituality.

11 Responses to "Annabelle: Creation - Panel Discussion"

  1. I have not seen the film, but view this as another promo for the movie and it gives the appearance that Christianity supports the film.  Scripture already tells us that evil/sin is entertaining for a time, but then comes the time to pay the piper.  This is clearly a period-piece, and not the contemporary view of spiritual warfare.  Will the audience give credence to how evil can seep into our lives through common ideas and items?  Is it clear that Christians can be affected by evil, but not possessed by it?

    by Rev. Grace Emanuel on Aug 12th, 2017 at 7:44 am
  2. I also have not seen this film, which I’m sure for many will disqualify me from being “objective”. But the fact remains that in a time where Christianity has become a spiritual and moral free for all, any suggestion that good and evil can coexist in the same space is misguided and dangerous. Possession is the darkest and vilest thing that can happen to a person, and to endorse, embrace, or in any way to justify a spiritual component in this movie should be of great concern to anyone claiming the Christian Faith. Pastor Lucious Smith

    by Pastor Lucious Smith on Aug 12th, 2017 at 10:05 am
  3. Elijah Davidson's avatar

    Thank you, both, for watching and commenting. For more detailed information about how the film deals with spirituality (and if this use is faithful and effective). I’d encourage you to check out Kutter Callaway’s more thorough review of the film here:

    by Elijah Davidson on Aug 12th, 2017 at 11:01 am
  4. I think that the greater message here is more to the vulnerable non-believing population that is by nature - spiritually dead. For it is only when we become “born again” that our spirits become alive and we see things (good and evil) through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Thus, I feel that a movie in this sense is simply an exercise in futility - much like telling stories to innocent children about Santa Clause. It seems very reckless and (though probably meant with good intentions) is at it’s core much like the conversation in the Garden of Eden between the Serpent and Eve…A gateway thought about what God deems right for us. Like Paul said: “All things are permissible, but all things are expedient”.

    by Kevin Dunn on Aug 12th, 2017 at 6:39 pm
  5. I have not seen the movie either nor other horror flicks in decades; never was a real fan. I do not compare Grimm’s Fairytales as it was a written medium with modern day horror flicks.  There’s a vast difference in being read a story, even a spooky story, and seeing the graphic video and audio that accompanies the storyline as in today’s horror flicks.  Once the visuals and audios are in your head they are impossible to remove. I still can’t get rid of some 40 yrs later.  Repeated exposure to visual & audible trauma, yes trauma, which are inflicted upon viewers remain in the mind and I do believe affect our spiritual, mental & physical health/behaviors.  Many, not all, fairytales give you the lesson it is trying to impart.  I don’t believe this movie, any more than Freddie or Jason, has any more to it than shock value and the almighty dollar…and we wonder where some of today’s mental illness is being spawned; a match just needs to be given a little air & something to burn.

  6. How do you reconcile this with I Thess 5:22, and similar verses?

    by Douglas H Falk on Aug 13th, 2017 at 4:32 pm
  7. Is there a way to view the full panel discussion? I’d be very interested in hearing all the aspects of what was discussed amongst all the members of the panel. I am a Christian and do thoroughly enjoy the horror genre of film; I actually find most horror movies quite funny because of all the inaccuracies if they have a religious base for their content. I saw a prescreening of the film, so I’d like to watch it again to see if anything was changed in the few weeks timeframe of the screening and release of the film.

  8. All horror films are bad for the mind and heart.  Yes, they can be humorous but the majority of people that watch them are vulnerable to the films misdirected creativity!
    Most horror lovers minds are very impressionable to believe what they watch won’t harm them. They are wrong!  What anyone watches on a movie screen or on the television leaves an impression, bad or good!  It’s best to stick to reality.  I pray people are not tempted by the evil from this film.

  9. Aloha,
    Although I have never felt that horror movies are “wrong” per say, I do agree with an earlier comment that explained that those who are not saved are more vulnerable to this kind of trauma. I also believe that children are more vulnerable to these influences as well. Some of these movies really do stay with you long after you’ve stopped the video, and make you wish you’d never watched them. But what I am not sure of is whether or not all stories like these invite evil in to our lives. (on the other hand I was very interested in the fact that Father Guffey said that even being on set was scary)
    I think that movies like these do traumatize people to an extent. It makes us fear evil… and antique stores, old dolls, and creaky doors… I know that there have been many movies that have caused me to fervently pray to God before bringing out The Sound of Music in a hope to remove the gore from my memory. But is that inviting evil in? Is it glorifying it? He made the comparison to the Grimm’s fairytales. If you have ever read the original stories those were VERY gory. People died all the time. Mother’s cut their son’s heads off, people were tortured, parents abandoned their kids or sold them, and witches ate little children. These stories were told in order to teach children a fear of evil. So in today’s world, where children aren’t taught to fear wolves or strangers anymore, are these horror films teaching the adults retroactively to fear evil?
    Personally, (and this is just my opinion) I feel like TV shows that glorify stupidity, trivialize sex in teenagers, and show back-stabbers gaining wealth and fame are probably more destructive to the human soul than horror films that show possessed dolls. Because those other shows seem “real” to people, and make them think those behaviors are normal. I don’t know a single person who would say “that’s life” if they came across a young girl playing tea party with an antique doll in a creepy house. They would run. Run far and fast. But when they find out that their best friend had an affair and lied on his taxes, its a shoulder shrug and “that’s life.” Right?

  10. The review does not in fact “gets into more specifics on how the film deals with spirituality.” I did not read or hear any good “defense of evil.” Therefore my opinion remains, horror movies are destructive. Any “good” is over shadowed by the BAD. Evil is glorified in horror movies. Makes me sad to see Christians attempting to justify enjoying the seductive nature of evil.

  11. I love the old Universal horror movies, they still look great and hold up.  And they were morality plays with good and evil and consequences to trying to play God.  There was also a reverence for God and morality. Fast forward to Interview With A Vampire, which was very popular, but I didn’t like it.  Everything changed, no reverence for God, in fact the opposite, and evil was sexy.  Halloween was a great film back in the day, designed to make you jump in all the right places. and very little if any gore.  It was the threat.  Horror done well can be really good and truly chilling, allowing you to safely experience fear and all other emotions in a controlled way similar to riding a great roller coaster.  Horror isn’t about blood and gore though it may include those elements.  In good horror it’s not gratuitous and overdone.  The film Hacksaw Ridge definitely had some horrific visuals that outside of the context of the movie would have been overwhelming, yet necessary for telling this story.  No one can argue this film is not an outstanding and inspiring account of a life of faith.  Art is a reflection of life and life is fallen by nature and not always pretty.  Even the Bible itself does not shy away from the ugliness and “warts” of it’s most prominent heroes.  There is room and grace to tell and watch these kinds of stories and they may be fine for some but not for others. Each must use discretion and discernment.

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