With Universal’s Dark Universe floundering after the failure of The Mummy, the spooky expanded universe to watch is Warner Bros.’ ever-growing network of The Conjuring spin-offs. OG spin-off Annabelle told the origin story behind the possessed doll in the prologue to James Wan’s 2013 film; now, its prequel, Annabelle: Creation, tells the origin story behind that origin story, detailing the series of decisions that led to a group of orphaned girls living in an isolated farmhouse with a doll that’s hungry for fresh, young souls. As one might expect, the arrangement isn’t ideal.
Early reviews of Annabelle: Creation from the Los Angeles Film Festival describe the film as narratively uneven but overflowing with haunted-house filmmaking tricks, which frankly sounds like just the thing for escaping the heat in an air-conditioned multiplex on a sweltering summer’s night. Annabelle: Creation opens on August 11.