Over the course of four films, Warner Brothers has created a cinematic universe that imbued studio horror movies with a sense of fun. And now, the fourth film in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe comes home with the release of Annabelle: Creation to blu-ray and DVD.
Serving as a prequel to the previous film, the first Conjuring spin-off, Annabelle. We get a look at the backstory of the creepy doll that was first introduced in the first Conjuring film in 2013.
The film is by no means perfect. Those who know the alleged case histories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of paranormal experts, know that the doll in the films does not resemble the ‘actual’ doll known as Annabelle – it’s a Raggedy Anne doll. Right there you know the film is going to take liberties, and obviously shies away from the supposed true story angle that the first two films in the series use.
My other issue with the film is that it, like its predecessors, relies, a lot, on jump scares. After countless horror films, I and countless others can predict beats, and what is going to happen simply by the position of a camera angle.
Having said that, I still found this one fun.
We follow the trials and tribulations of the Mullins family (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto), Samuel is a doll maker, and Esther is a doting mother. After the loss of their daughter, the pair, sometime on, open their home to an orphanage, housing a group of girls and their teacher, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman).
Strange things begin to happen immediately, and it becomes very apparent that there is something in the country house with them. Ghosts, dolls, demons… they all make appearances in short order as the truth and horror of the house and its history is revealed.
The film is fun. A haunted house thrill ride that delivers on its jumps and scares, and hints at a larger world, which, of course, has been glimpsed in the other films as well.
Rounding out the crisp and clear sound and picture is a plethora of extras, including a commentary by director Sandberg, a featurette on the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, and two wonderfully playful shorts by Sandberg as well.
I’m curious to see how the CCU expands after this. There are rumours of a movie focusing on the creepy nun, and as long as they maintain the same production value, fairly solid casts, and their sense of fun, this universe will be a lot of fun to visit on a regular basis.
I prefer the Ed and Lorraine stories, as I think both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are enjoyable in their roles, but the idea of expanding the universe by telling stories about the forbidden objects they have locked away… sounds like a haunted treasure trove to me!
Annabelle: Creation is available on DVD and blu-ray from Warner Brothers today.