This was an engaging and fun little movie with great creature design, a nice for period details and a sweet little story.
It’s difficult to say where this movie falls in the timeline. It is the sequel to the prequel to the prequel to the Conjuring. It’s also kind of a sequel to the Conjuring, but part of it takes place in the middle of the Conjuring and part of it takes place after The Conjuring part two. So figure that one out.
The story is actually really nice. The Warrens are a family that investigates the paranormal. They have an extensive collection of haunted items locked up in the basement. One day they go out of town and their daughter, her babysitter, and the babysitters friend let loose some terrible demons from these haunted objects. For any fan of The Conjuring this plot makes perfect sense, and it’s fun to watch what kind of chaos can be unleashed.
Some of the creepiest moments come early like when the girls find a recording of one of Warrens exorcisms. The sound design on this is chilling and seeps into the bones. A call and repeat when one girls plays a haunted piano is also quite nice. However when the monsters do show up the designs are fantastic. There’s a boatman who collects coins from the dead and the sequence of dropped coins is very well done.
The tone of the film is interesting. It makes clear that no harm will actually come to the characters. It never feels like they are truly in mortal danger. Now it does feel like these demons are menacing and harmful, and a haunted TV is truly harrowing for one character. But the scares and thrills here are clearly for fun. It doesn’t have the hard bearing dread of Annabelle Creation or the misguided jump scares of the first Annabelle. What it does have is a slow burn opening, some great frights in the house, some well deserved laughs, and a resolution that upholds the theme of the series.
The best part about these Conjuring films is the theme that connects them all which is the bonds of family. These movies have positive messages under the horror and the fear, and that’s very reassuring. I will be skipping the first Annabelle, but these other two will be movies I will return to fit future Halloween fun.
My cup of tea. B+