Warner Bros. may seem focused on building up their superhero blockbuster connected movie universe in the form of the DC Extended Universe but they’re low key succeeding in this mindset on an entirely front. Rather than retelling the well-known (true) story of The Amityville Horror for the millionth time, they instead focused on another story of Ed and Lorraine Warren that actually came prior to the Amityville occurrence. The Conjuring (2013) was that story and it had a profound effect on the studio’s path of future horror genre movies. They found a niche, and like any smart and successful company, they’ve exploited it as effectively as possible. Not only was there a direct sequel, The Conjuring 2 (2016), a spin-off titled simply Annabelle (2014), was released in between the two “Conjuring” movies. Riding the waves of success, we are once again treated to another leg of this supernatural saga. Annabelle: Creation is looking to scare up even more success in 2017.
Starting roughly 24 years prior to the events that take place in Annabelle, it’s time to witness how this terrifying doll came to be. Sam (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto) are a happily married with a young daughter. Sam is a doll maker and he’s ready to start selling his best work yet. On a random Sunday afternoon, the family is dealt a devastating blow when their daughter is taken from them in heart wrenching fashion. More than a decade later, we catch back up with the Mullins as they open their doors orphans in need. You’d think that having children in a home that was once filled with cheer and laughter would be a good thing. It turns out however, that the Mullins’ nightmare is far from over. Their is evil in this home and it is just itching to be released.
As prequels go, Annabelle: Creation takes carefully calculated steps to build a solid foundation to assist in supporting what’s to come in the future. David F. Sandberg is the director this time around but staying with the same writer, Gary Dauberman, is good first step for familiarity and consistency. The feel of this prequel matches, for the most part, that of its predecessor. Something so trivial may not seem very important but, when done correctly, it really helps the continued development of the franchise.
While none of the actors stick out as amazing performers, there are also no obvious weak links in the bunch. We’re dealing with mostly younger actors here and they act their age. The overall feeling is that of authenticity. If you imagine normal everyday kids, they’d act and react in a very similar fashion as to what you’ll see. The more seasoned actors are adequate in their roles for the most part.
The story behind Annabelle: Creation is definitely its strength although it does lack the complete fear factor that some will be looking for. Don’t expect to need to sleep with the lights on but your adrenaline should have a few moments to stretch its legs here and there. It also stands up to the judgmental eyes looking to poke holes in it from an overall extended Ed and Lorraine story standpoint. As a matter of fact, keeping the larger picture in mind, this chapter builds once again towards the future of the franchise. Which brings me to a few future rumored projects that you might want to keep an eye out for. Another rumored sequel in the form of The Conjuring 3 and two additional spin-offs, The Nun and The Crooked Man, are also said to be in the works. This would make a total of seven movies under this particular umbrella and that’s impressive by anyone’s standards.
So, the bottom line on Annabelle: Creation is that it’s not terrifying and it’s not terrible. The story does happen to be a necessity, especially if you’ve seen the previous Annabelle movie. If do you plan on seeing this one, I would strongly urge you to stay in your seats until the absolute end. You can see the demonic doll horror drama in theaters right now.