Talitha Bateman (right) in a field with Annabelle, the demonically possessed doll.
Though “Creation” marks the third on-screen appearance of everyone’s favorite demonically possessed doll, the movie is actually something of your prequel to a prequel, developing a decade before the past installment. Could we call it a proquelogue? Probably. Should we? Merriam-Webster says not likely.
Nevertheless, the film affixes just one single more horrific track record to its wicked, solid wood adversary (the eye-roller of the tagline reads “You don’t know the real story,” as though that is the viewer’s fault at this time), positing that the doll initially belonged to the princess of your kindly toymaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his better half (Miranda Otto), who reside in a remote California farmhouse.
Locked away in the wake of the girl’s tragic fatality, the doll re-emerges 12 years later, soon after the still grief-stricken few ingest six females from a Catholic orphanage, with their devout guardian (Stephanie Sigman). Two young’uns specifically — fearful Janice (Talitha Bateman), whose have a problem with polio has quit her in a lower leg brace, and the sunlit Linda (Lulu Wilson), whose naivete helps to keep her isolated from the old ladies — find themselves drawn toward the daughter’s bedroom, when a demonic presence is based on hang on, with violent objective.
On paper, staging the “Annabelle” series in reverse appears to be the same formula for disaster that’s made Fox’s “X-Men” franchise a continuity chaos. So credit returning “Annabelle” copy writer Gary Dauberman and newly drafted director David F. Sandberg (“Lamps Out”) with providing what’s instead a anxious and terrifying genre work out, the sort of old-school chiller that begins poor, patiently turning the screws and bringing out a surplus of creepy collection portions (a creaky dumbwaiter here, a protected well there) prior to making potent use of each in a brutal, blood-curdling crescendo of the third function. Sandberg, an impish traditionalist inspired in equal strategy by William Castle (“House on Haunted Hill”) and John Carpenter (“Halloween”), casts his camera profound into shadows that seem to be to be to swell with the horrors they cover. Here, he makes uncertain people to lean into the deep, sometimes (but, crucially, not necessarily) springing a horrible surprise on them once there.
“Creation” owes much to earlier year’s “Ouija: Source of Bad,” another better-than-expected prequel to a soulless studio room room cash-in: an period setting up, a central trio of strong women, demonic ownership, similar jump-scares, even the same business lead celebrity (Wilson, whose matter-of-fact moxie here makes for an appealing inversion of her “Ouija” role). But again, “Origin of Bad” lent enough from Sandberg’s original “Lights Out” short that it’s appealing to conclude any turnabout is reasonable play. If some light deja vu is the price horror lovers must purchase a mainstream offering this spine-tingling, most will still come away sense spooked and satisfied.
Aimed by David F. Sandberg. Compiled by Gary Dauberman. Starring Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson. At Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs. 109 minutes. R (horror assault and terror).