Annabelle: Creation (NC16)
Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman
Directed by David F Sandberg
Annabelle: Creation is the prequel to 2014’s Annabelle — itself a spin-off and prequel of sorts to James Wan’s exorcism scare-o-rama The Conjuring — that looks at how the eponymous demonic doll came to be.
Turns out it (she?) was made in the 1940s by a doll maker (Without a Trace’s Anthony LaPaglia) whose daughter was killed in a car accident. Somehow, a malevolent entity pretending to be her spirit manages to use the toy as a conduit to wreak havoc on earth, no, make that a creepy American Gothic farmhouse-turned-girls’ orphanage-turned House of Pain.
In theory, the possessed plaything’s origin story could’ve easily been explained in a five-minute flashback sequence and fit into the first Annabelle movie. But would they pass up a chance to make a gazillion bucks? Hell, no.
Creation is a shameless cash grab all right (look out for the shameless plugs for the next Conjuring spin-off, The Nun — stick around for a post-credits stinger), but one that’s entertaining and efficiently mounted.
It isn’t nearly as intense as director David F Sandberg’s own debut, Lights Out, or the two Conjurings, but it has enough scares to set your pulse racing. For scaredy-cats, prepare to sleep with the lights on. (***)