In the latest version of that scenario, Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to 2015's Annabelle film, but the ties also go back to The Conjuring (2013), where we first heard about the doll from Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The film features the story of Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia; Without a Trace) and Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto; Lord of The Rings) who lose their daughter Bee (Samara Lee; The Last Witch Hunter) in a tragic accident. After 12 years, they decide they will open their house to a nun, Sister Charlotte( Stephanie Sigman; Narcos), and six orphaned girls. The only stipulation is that they do not enter Bee's locked room. However, the door somehow opens one day, unleashing evil throughout the house and into the girls' lives.
When The Conjuring was initially released one of the highlights for most viewers was the brief story of the Annabelle doll told at the beginning of the film, and audiences asked Warner Bros for more. While the 2015 Annabelle film helped to flesh out more of the mystery surrounding this malicious character it still left many open questions. With Annabelle: Creation the producers and creators of The Conjuring universe try to answer some of these mysteries.
Director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) offers up some good jump scares throughout the film but the pacing does seem slow at times. He evokes some scary moments and the cast does a nice job of portraying those harrowing scenes. Overall the cast is good but not great. LaPaglia and Otto offer some emotional moments but I didn't feel all that connected to them. Same goes for Sister Charlotte and the children featured in the film. You feel sorry for the situation they are in however that is as far as it goes. At no point do you feel like you really took a journey with the characters of the film. Instead, it seems more like you are a voyeur just looking into their lives.
Annabelle: Creation is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio with a 1080p AVC codec. As with most modern releases, the blacks are spot on and there are no visible signs of artifacting. While the film looks a bit washed out this was a deliberate choice by Sandberg in order to portray another time and place other than our modern one. The Dolby Atmos audio is one of the bright spots of the film. The surround sound helps kick the scariness up a notch and there were definitely moments that made me jump simply from being surrounded by the sounds of terror and suspense.
Aside from the feature-length film and the now standard Digital HD copy of Annabelle: Creation the Blu-ray combo pack also sports a commentary track by director David F. Sandberg, a featurette of deleted scenes, Directing Annabelle (a look behind the camera and what it takes to direct a film, The Conjuring Universe (a look at the broader universe being built by Warner Bros and producer, James Wan), and two shorts films directed by Sandberg.
Annabelle: Creation is another step for producer/director James Wan and Warner Bros. to create a horror universe that they are hoping one day will rival Disney's Marvel one. It is a solid entry for them and helps further move along the mythology they are trying to convey to the world. Next up for them is the spin-off film Nun which will feature one of the characters from The Conjuring 2. With the success that Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation have had there is no doubt we will be seeing more films in the Conjuring world for a long time to come.