Director: David F. Sandberg. Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee, Miranda Otto. 109 min. Rated R. Horror.
We're seeing a strange new trend in the horror genre: prequels that are vastly better than their originals; first with Ouija and Ouija: Origin of Evil, and now with Annabelle - a movie that was so horrendous, you'd swear to stay away from that doll ... not because it was scary. The prequel has its fair share of horror cliches (characters making the dumbest choices, instead of just leaving the haunted house), but also creates a decent number of effective scares, nevertheless solely through lighting and sound. And the ending makes a sudden reference to the Charles Manson murders. Eerily intriguing.
PS: The post-credits scene is a shout-out to The Conjuring movies. That means a Marvel-style multi-movie cross-connecting horror franchise is in the works.