You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy,
When skies are gray.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
I’m going to take your soul away.
That’s how it goes, right?
So the universe created in The Conjuring continues to expand, this time with a spine-tingling origin story of the wonderfully creepy porcelain doll, Annabelle. If you’ve seen every installment in The Conjuring “series,” you should already be well-prepared for this movie.
The Annabelle doll, first introduced in The Conjuring and further expanded on in 2014’s Annabelle, finally gets her own horror movie worth a few screams. I wasn’t too impressed with the first movie. It just was a little too predictable and boring, but this one – oh man, this one.
Warning: Here Be Spoilers
We start with the actual making of the doll by Mr. Mullins, played by Anthony LaPaglia, and a too-cute version of hide and seek with his daughter, affectionately called Bee and played by up-and-coming child actress, Samara Lee.
Side note: If her parents aren’t fans of The Ring, I’ll eat my keyboard.
Ms. Mullins, played by Miranda Otto, joins in on the fun, and we’re shown how happy life is in the Mullins household. This being a horror movie, we know this little love fest won’t last long. Sorry to break it to you, but Bee (whose full name we later learn is – you guessed it – Annabelle) ends up getting killed.
Flash forward 12 years later, and 6 orphaned girls are on their way to stay at the Mullins’s home until they’re able to be adopted. They’re given almost full run of the house except for the Mullins’s bedroom and the locked bedroom of little Bee.
One of the girls is enticed to come inside Bee’s room by an unseen entity. Of course, this is where the doll lurks, locked in a secret room lined with pages from the Holy Bible. The girl opens Annabelle’s chamber, and that’s all she wrote. The evil is released, and terror befalls the house.
We learn from Ms. Mullins that she and her husband had bargained with whatever force would allow them to have their daughter back in any way. They invited what they thought was their daughter’s spirit into the doll, but what entered was actually a demonic presence. Ms. Mullins ended up getting half her face along with one eye carved up and charred.
Don’t mess with a demon, people.
We’re treated to several jump scares, some gruesome injuries/deaths, multiple appearances by THE demonic presence, and the lurking shadow of Annabelle throughout the movie. And yes, I said treated to jump scares. I know a lot of horror fans hate when movies rely on these, but I have to say they’re very well-balanced with actual horror in Annabelle: Creation. It’s just enough to keep us jumpy and invested in what’s going on.
I was very impressed with the effects and very happy with how they tied the movie to the 2014 version. I don’t even want to go into details on it. You should just see for yourself. I love a good tie-in/movie connection. It’s probably why I love the Saw franchise so much with all its interconnected craziness, and I love that this movie ties into not only 2014’s Annabelle, but The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2.
Oh? How does it tie into The Conjuring 2, you ask? Well, the demon nun makes not one, but two appearances. Two! One in passing in a photograph and then with an after credits scene. I was wriggling in my seat, I was so happy. If you’re not already aware, the demon nun is another expansion of this universe with the release of her own movie, The Nun, coming in 2018. I know. Exciting stuff.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the acting in this film. Everyone does a great job. Talitha Bateman plays Janice, and she’s the lucky girl that both releases Annabelle and gets possessed by the demonic presence later in the movie. Bateman gets a huge point for the sinister portrayal of her character’s possessed self. She’s supposed to be creepy, and is she ever.
Lulu Wilson, playing Linda, Janice’s best friend, also does a wonderful job, and I wasn’t surprised. She was great in Ouija: Origin of Evil, so I knew I’d like her in this. And this time, she got to be the one on the other side of the possession, so that’s nice. I say she’s 2 for 2 in her horror movie origin story run. I thought it was pretty funny that she was in both this prequel and the prequel to Ouija, which both far surpass their originals. Keep ’em coming, Lulu.
So should you go see this one? If you enjoyed The Conjuring 1 and 2, I say go for it. Hell, if you enjoyed the 2014 Annabelle, I say definitely go for it because you won’t be disappointed after that train wreck.
Oh! And bonus, they put in a little Easter egg concerning the REAL Annabelle doll. You’ll like it. Trust me.