½*/**** Image A- Sound A Extras C+
starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard
screenplay by Gary Dauberman
directed by John R. Leonetti
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Some kind of as-yet-unclassified spin-off/rip-off hybrid, Annabelle is a prequel to The Conjuring's prologue that recycles said prologue for the purpose of reacquainting viewers with its title character, even though Annabelle is in fact an origin story. The Conjuring, of course, purports to be based on the actual exploits of the paranormal researchers fictionalized in Poltergeist, which was shot by Matthew F. Leonetti, brother of The Conjuring's DP John R. Leonetti, who moves into the director's chair with Annabelle, a movie that arguably owes less to The Conjuring (despite labouring to evoke it) than to the malicious clown doll from Poltergeist. That low-frequency thrum you sometimes hear on its soundtrack is Hollywood getting ready to fold in on itself.