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Review: Demonic doll prequel Annabelle Creation is full of bog standard dark creepy scares

PUBLISHED: 08:36 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:36 11 August 2017

Talitha Bateman as Janice and Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte in Annabelle: Creation. Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment

Talitha Bateman as Janice and Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte in Annabelle: Creation. Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment

© 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC All Rights Reserved

Demonic doll Annabelle first appeared in the opening sequence to supernatural horror The Conjuring, and the malevolent mannequin has now spawned a stand-alone prequel set in the 1950s, which sketches the origins of the children’s toy.

Talitha Bateman as Janice in Annabelle: Creation. Photo: Warner Bros. EntertainmentTalitha Bateman as Janice in Annabelle: Creation. Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment

Annabelle: Creation (15)

**

One step forward, one step sideways and now one step back; the convoluted paths of the modern horror franchise take some following.

This began with The Conjuring, a one stop shop catering to all your poltergeist/haunted house/exorcism horror needs. That had a sequel, but prior to that a spin off called Annabelle, centred on the doll that figured prominently in the marketing of the first instalment, but not much in the actual film. Now we come to the prequel of the spin-off.

Why the producers have taken such a twisty path is unclear. The first film introduced husband and wife paranormal investigators, the Warrens (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and the sequel showed that they could be beamed down into any pre-existing situation, in that case the already much exploited The Enfield Hauntings.

Having established them as the Mulder and Scully of the paranormal (who rather than Wanting To Believe, Force You To Believe) why not just keep wheeling them out again and again?

Instead this prespinquel whisks us off to a run of the mill Enormous Dollmaking Studio on the Prairie at some undetermined point in the past (presumably the 1950s, but the dialogue seems to be from the present) which has just decided to branch out as an orphanage.

It is presided over by Prairie homestead bespoke doll maker LaPaglia, who seems to be possessed by Liam Neesom’s voice.

So far so novel but once inside it proves to be a bog standard dark creepy house, full of bog standard dark creepy scares – creaky floorboards, dodgy electrics, blurry figures in the background and perambulating laundry. It’s all effectively done but fiercely traditional; made for YaBoos who like being made to jump in exactly the same way and in exactly same place each time.

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