So the prequel to the prequel of ‘The Conjuring’ is getting a sequel…
The cinematic universe that formed out of James Wan’s The Conjuring has mostly been an unexpected hit so far in its life cycle. By virtue of being a franchise filled with macabre iconography, the series has a variety of different elements that can easily be spun off into potentially effective scary movies. But this spin-off business all started off small — with one eerie-looking doll — and it seems her journey is far from over.
The Hollywood Reporter has announced that a third Annabelle installment can be expected from New Line Cinema sometime down the pipeline. This will be a sequel to Annabelle: Creation, which is itself a prequel to the first Annabelle movie that was spawned from a single scene in The Conjuring. The Annabelle: Creation sequel doesn’t have a name for now but series screenwriter Gary Dauberman will pen the screenplay and also make his feature film directorial debut with the project.
Dauberman is responsible for a number of well-received scary movies from the Warner Bros. camp. Annabelle, his first entry into The Conjuring extended universe, either made no impression or the completely wrong one to most critics and audiences (although we liked it). However, 2017 was a great year for Dauberman. Having penned both Annabelle: Creation and the latest version of Stephen King’s IT, he had a hand in crafting some empathetic horror films that are well worth our time. In these instances, Dauberman’s scripts tell stories about the plights faced by relatable characters hoping to preserve believable relationships. We can root for these people, and so we’re scared for them when bad shit goes down.
For the uninitiated, the Annabelle series centers on the titular doll, which is possessed by a soul-hunting demon. Annabelle’s unsettling silhouette and piercing eyes are just one facet of her potential to be frightening. Because of her, the characters we grow to love are subjected to supernatural occurrences borne from very weighty emotions. Annabelle: Creation is anchored specifically by grief when characters suffering from different instances of loss come into the crosshairs of the demon, making its tale ultimately creepy as well as heartbreaking.
This is pretty much the core ethos of The Conjuring universe as a whole, making the Annabelle films a promising extension of the franchise. For example, Wan’s own Conjuring films make us relate to their protagonists, the Warrens, by building up the strength of their marriage and focusing on the power they have as a unit despite their harrowing line of work. To think a relationship like that could be transposed into a series of doll movies seems absurd at first. The bond between two humans feels like it’s going to leave a stronger impression than anything a mostly-inanimate doll could offer.
However, Dauberman himself has acknowledged that the Annabelle films work because of the human protagonists surrounding Annabelle and not the other way around. So, it’s easier to be more hopeful about where he could take a third installment — even if the overall timeline in the Conjuring franchise keeps getting messed up.
When iHorror asked Dauberman about a potential follow-up to Annabelle: Creation last year, he was optimistic that the well of Annabelle stories is essentially bottomless:
I think [‘Annabelle: Creation’] will prove by the end of it that there is more to the Annabelle story that needs to be told. I mean, the mere fact that she’s a doll kind of allows that. How many kids out there have the same doll? Visually, I mean. […] Same doll but each kid creates a different back-story, a different history, a different story which makes their doll their very own even though it might look like a million others out there. It’s kind of the opposite for Annabelle. She remains the same but the people she encounters all have different stories and different fears and she’s going to use those for her own purposes until you discover — much too late — that she isn’t the toy… you are. And she’s playing you.
With two films within the Conjuring universe under his belt and more on the way — Dauberman also wrote The Nun, a spin-off of The Conjuring 2 that is due out this year — I’m willing to think Dauberman knows what he’s doing. The Annabelle: Creation sequel joins a schedule of upcoming films including the second chapter of IT as well as the movie adaptation of the horror anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark?.