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Film / Annabelle: Creation

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"It was quiet for all these years. After Samuel and I lost our daughter, we prayed to see our girl again. The contact started small, but then, she wanted permission to move into the doll. We soon realised it wasn't our daughter. So we locked it away."
Esther Mullins

Annabelle: Creation is a horror film, that is a prequel to 2014's Annabelle, which was also a prequel to The Conjuring in 2013, and it is set like them in The Conjuring Universe. The film is directed by David F. Sandberg of Lights Out fame and was released on August 11, 2017.

The story is focused on a dollmaker and his wife, whose daughter died twelve years earlier, as they decide to open their home to a nun and several girls from an orphanage that has been closed. The dollmaker's possessed creation, Annabelle, sets her sights on two of the orphanage's children, Janice and Linda, turning their shuddered shelter into a storm of terror.

A sequel, Annabelle Comes Home, was released in 2019.

Annabelle: Creation contains examples of:

  • The '50s: The majority of the film takes place at the very latest in 1958, with the prologue being set 12 years before that. The filmmakers later confirmed in a behind-the-scenes featurette that it is set in 1955.
  • Alpha Bitch: Carol and Nancy, but especially the former, who dismisses Janice's fears as a way to get extra attention (which she notably said after Janice gets possessed).
  • Ambiguous Time Period:
    • It is a bit hard to pinpoint where exactly the film is placed in the chronology. The film explicitly states that it takes place 12 years before the events of Annabelle, but as said film has done a retcon to the original The Conjuring, it becomes complicated. Depending on which film you pick as reference, it's either set in 1955 (if you pick The Conjuring) or 1958 (if you pick Annabelle).
    • A featurette released in advance of The Nun eventually decided on a compromise: this film is set in 1955 (and so the prologue in 1943), while the first film is set in 1970. This implies that between the climax and the scene where Janice is adopted, there is an unmentioned time skip of three years.
  • Arc Words: "Find me".
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Played surprisingly straight, and it does not disappoint.
  • Big Red Devil: The same black one from the first film, in fact.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Charlotte tries to repel the demon-possessed Janice with the Lord's Prayer in Spanish. It doesn't work.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Charlotte and most of the orphans survive the haunting and move on, but the Mullins are both dead, while the demon-possessed Janice runs loose. She eventually changes her name to Annabelle and is adopted by the Higgins couple, setting up the events of the first film.
  • Break the Haughty: Carol, who gets few, if any, real moments of warmth or humility outside of some deleted scenes, is reducing to a sobbing wreck after she's trapped in the barn with a possessed scarecrow, and one by one the lightbulbs start falling out, with her frantically trying to hold the last one in place as it un-screws the last one back in with her bare hands although she does manage to escape.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes:
    • The first time Linda sees Annabelle, you can see white dots of the figure who carries the latter in the background.
    • They also appear when Mr. Mullins confronts the demon for the final time.
  • Call-Forward: The demon possesses Janice by puking blood into her mouth, like Bathsheba does to possess Carolyn Perron some fourteen years later.
  • Came Back Wrong: In their desperate attempt to see their daughter again, the Mullins prayed to anything that could bring her back by possessing a doll Samuel made. However, they realized too late that it was a demon, and not Bee, that latched into it. They barricaded the doll inside a room blessed by a priest and then invite the orphans as a way for them to repent their sin, only to realize too late again that this is exactly what the demon wants: a couple of lost souls ready to be eaten...
  • The Cameo: The Higgins couple from the first film turn up in the epilogue to adopt Janice, who introduces herself as Annabelle. Mia and John Form also appear at the very end through archival footage.
  • Closed Circle: Due to the previous orphanage closing, Charlotte and the orphans are stuck in a lonely estate in the middle of nowhere and have no money to rent a more lively place. This is why they still remain in place even after the horrible things happening to the house. Until the Mullins are killed and Janice goes missing, when they're forced by the police to pack things up and move to somewhere else.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Linda is able to fend of the demon trying to pull the dumbwaiter down she's using as an escape by hitting the demon's fingers with her flashlight. It just gives her enough time to escape
  • Creepy Changing Painting:
    • Bee's photo in the hallway. If darkened, white dots appear on the eyes.
    • And then there is Valak in Sister Charlotte's convent photo.
  • Creepy Dollhouse: The late Annabelle Mullins has a suspiciously accurate recreation of her own house in the form of a dollhouse in her bedroom. While protagonist Janice is observing the dead girl's dolls and dollhouse, a demon posing as Annabelle's ghost tries to take her soul.
  • Dark Is Evil: The demon can only take over things completely when all lights are out. Carol survives being captured in the workshop because she manages to hold on until the last light bulb turns off, and the demon later systematically destroys the electricity of the Mullins' estate, thankfully after Charlotte and the orphans leave the premises. It also appears for the first time to Janice as a mass of pitch black darkness consuming the second floor of the house.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Faux!Annabelle's glowing yellow eyes when she shape shift in a dark hallway, preparing to attack Samuel.
  • Deal with the Devil: It turns out that the demon possesses the doll because of a deal the Mullins made to see their daughter again.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It at first appears that Janice will be the main protagonist, however she is the first to be attacked by the demon inhabiting the doll and ultimately becomes possessed halfway through the film, leading her to be the Big Bad. Linda and Sister Charlotte then become the protagonists for the last half of the film.
  • Demonic Possession: The story focuses on a haunted dollhouse, a doll possessed by a demon, and the dollmaker's attempt to bring back his daughter by inviting the demon to possess a doll he made.
  • Distant Finale: The ending is set 12 years later, when the grownup Janice/Annabelle Higgins with her boyfriend murdered her parents before going to the Form's residence to complete the satanic ritual.
  • Enfante Terrible: Janice after the demon possesses her. There's also Bee, or what looked like her anyway, after her parents summoned her post-mortem.
  • Eye Scream: The demon tore Esther's left eye out, hence the porcelain mask she always wears.
  • Fingore: Mr. Mullins faces the 'Annabelle' demon with a crucifix. How does the demon respond? By telekinetically snapping his fingers one by one until he's forced to drop the icon, upon which it pounces on and kills him
  • Foregone Conclusion: Whatever the characters do to stop the thing that haunts the doll, it will somehow escape to continue its terror.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Janice gets possessed and grows to become Annabelle Higgins from the Annabelle film.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The scene where Bee is hit by a car cuts to an Empathy Doll Shot, though we hear her parents scream.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Esther Mullins, courtesy of the demon.
  • The Hero: While much of the film focuses on Janice and Linda, it's ultimately Sister Charlotte who fills this role, as she's the one to uncover the mystery surrounding the Annabelle doll and defeat the demon that had possessed it and Janice.
  • Hero of Another Story: Sister Charlotte used to be stationed in a Romanian monastery haunted by Valak.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Mullins virtually always refer to their daughter as Bee. Her real name, Annabelle, is only uttered once, when they encountered her for the first time after their (apparently) successful ritual to court her into the doll.
  • Irony: Despite her own self's insistence that no one would bat an eye for her due to her disability, Janice is the only orphan of St. Eustace shown to be adopted by the end, though by that point she is no longer Janice.
  • Jump Scare: Loads of them, though some are fakeouts.
  • Karmic Death: The Mullins, as they are the people responsible for summoning the demon in the first place.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: This is how Esther discovered that the ghost of her daughter is, in fact, a demon.
  • Mythology Gag: The real Annabelle doll, as in the cute Raggedy Ann, is given by the Higgins as an adoption present for Janice.
  • No-Sell:
    • You can never dispose of the doll, no matter how you try. After Linda and Charlotte go out their way to throw it down the well, it re-appears, perfectly fine, back on the couch.
    • Crucifixes, Bible pages, Latin incantations, and pretty much any other holy objects and prayers don't work against the demon. Charlotte, Esther, and Samuel each take turns trying to ward it off using them; the first one is thrown into a mirror, the second loses her eye, and the last loses his fingers and then his life.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Really the entire premise of the movie. A group of young orphans are stranded because of their orphanage's closure, one of them disabled due to polio, are forced to live in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, where they are cared for by only a nun, a priest that is absent most of the time, and two elderly caretakers that are too busy taking care of themselves. You don't even need the horrible doll to consider the situation unpleasant.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: The prologue details how the Mullins lost their only daughter, Bee.
  • Perverse Puppet: You know who. And the girls absolutely refuse to take it once the haunting dies down. Also, Samuel Mullins, being a dollmaker, has an entire set of porcelain dolls hanging about in Janice and Linda's room.
  • The Promise: Janice and Linda promise to become adopted by the same family so they could become real sisters. Sadly, it never comes true.
  • Retcon: Annabelle heavily implies that the Higgins' daughter is their biological child, or that they adopted her when she was a baby, due to Mr. Higgins agreeing that children are a blessing before adding "And then they learn to talk." In the final scene of this movie, they adopt Janice when she's an adolescent. However, it's possible that Mr. Higgins is only joking, or that the Higgins' have an older biological or adopted child.
  • The Reveal: Janice's name upon adoption is Annabelle Higgins.
  • Scary Scarecrows: One is used as a medium of haunting.
  • Security Cling: Towards the end of the film, Sister Charlotte and the girls, even Nancy and Carol, hold on to each other as they watch the lights of the Mullins house go out.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending is one that segues well into the first film. Valak is also foreshadowed in the convent photo Charlotte places in her bedroom, not to mention the second stinger.
  • Shapeshifting: Something Faux!Annabelle does to terrifying affect when she attacks Esther. And again when it confronts Samuel with the crucifix.
  • Shout-Out: The old well and the shots from inside of it. Consider also that the actress portraying Annabelle Mullins was named Samara.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The film uses the song "You Are My Sunshine" as the central focus of the plot as well as the Leitmotif of Annabelle. It's also played on a vinyl record player and is used as the credits song.
  • The Stinger: Two of them. The second teases the next film in the franchise, The Nun.
  • Time Skip: Thrice. Between the opening and the majority of the film is a gap of twelve years. There is an unspecified time skip between the climax and the denouement (later confirmed by Word of God as three years), then twelve years between the latter and the ending.

"She mustn't go near that doll!"