‘ANNABELLE: CREATION’ is one helluva haunting next level prequel

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Talitha Bateman in ANNABELLE: CREATION. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

How far back must we go to find out the origins of that eternally damned “Annabelle” doll from THE CONJURING? As it turns out, further than probably any of us ever expected it would go.  The creepy doll was the breakout character from director James Wan’s 2013 feature, which was based on a possessed Raggedy Ann doll the Warrens had come across in their careers. It was so popular, they even gave them out to the junketing members of the press (I’m a proud, not dead yet, owner of one). It birthed a commercially viable spinoff sensation with 2014’s ANNABELLE. Though the prequel was budgeted at $6.5 million, it wound up taking home a worldwide gross of $256.9 million. Not too shabby with no huge movie stars attached, don’t you think?!

Now, there’s yet another ANNABELLE story still desperately needing to be told in yet another prequel – one that tells of the particular circumstances in which our beloved plaything was created. Director David F. Sandberg, who gave us last Summer’s solid/ smart/ scary feature LIGHTS OUT, is gifting us with a whole new set of scares with ANNABELLE: CREATION. Take a look – if you dare:

The grief-fueled horror film stars Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia and two insanely talented stars on the rise, Talitha Bateman (SO. B IT) and Lulu Wilson (OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL). Back in October, I spoke with Wilson briefly about her ANNABELLE role.

I cry all the time. All. The. Time. I actually just learned how to fake cry recently right before I shot ANNABELLE 2. I have this technique that’s hard, but kind of obvious. I open my eyes really wide, but that’s not all it is. You have to be thinking about something that happened in your life that might be really sad or emotional.

Assuredly we’ll probably also be scared to tears once these reels begin to unspool.

ANNABELLE : CREATION opens on August 11.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.