“Annabelle: Creation” fails to conjure a great story or enough scares.
Ostensibly the fourth installment in “The Conjuring” horror franchise, “Annabelle: Creation” tells the origins story of the scary doll from ghost hunters Ed & Lorraine Warren’s showroom. This outing has some decent scares, but it doesn’t have a great deal else to recommend it. While the previous three films created strong characters and unsettling dread, this one feels too paint-by-numbers. The characters are underdeveloped, most of the frights are predictable, and the story even loses faith in the demonic Annabelle. When the evil spirit moves on to a crippled girl, a nun, and even a scarecrow, you know this frightener is toying with its premise as well as its audience.