You don’t know the real story.
There’s something so innately spooky about dolls that they don’t even have to be possessed to give us the chills. Of course, when they happen to be haunted, horror filmmakers have a field day. Which brings us to the creepy porcelain doll with blonde pigtails and rouged cheeks from 2013’s The Conjuring. She has already had her own spin-off movie with the eponymous Annabelle. Now she gets an origins tale.
In Annabelle: Creation, director David F Sandberg (Lights Out) doubles down on the horror. The 1950s-set tale takes place in a remote and eerie rural house. Naturally, it has dodgy electricity, doors that open and shut by themselves, and a creaky dumb waiter. But it’s Annabelle the doll you really need to look out for when a nun (Stephanie Sigman) and six orphan girls come to stay in the home of a retired dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his invalid wife (Miranda Otto), still grieving the loss of their daughter in a car accident 12 years earlier.
The set-up is hardly fresh, but Sandberg keeps us nicely on edge, using shadowy suggestion rather than big jump scares to deliver some artfully sustained shivers. A further Annabelle film is already in the pipeline, and so are two additional spin-off films from what is already being called ‘The Conjuring Universe’, The Nun and The Crooked Man. Fans of the franchise will be sure to stay for two post-credits scenes, which offer teasing hints of what lies in store.
Certificate 15. Runtime 109 mins. Director David F Sandberg
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Warner Home Video.