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Remember the creepy doll from The Conjuring? Clearly Hollywood did: this spin-off starring her has hit cinemas before the official Conjuring sequel has. Presumably a movie based around a doll is a lot easier to knock out – especially when most of your story comes direct from the giant tome of horror movie stunts that Hollywood has locked in a crypt somewhere.
It is 1970 – The Conjuring was set in the early ’70s, remember? – and John (Ward Horton) has found the perfect gift for his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis): a giant super-creepy doll. But at least when he bought it he was just showing poor taste: when a pair of Satanists (signalled by a news report on The Manson Family) break into their house and do a bunch of evil stuff that results in the doll getting evil blood on it, now Mia has the perfect excuse for getting rid of it. But throwing out a possessed doll is harder than it looks, and before long… well, it’s the usual haunted house/possession stuff we’ve been seeing since the very first Paranormal Activity revived the genre.
It seems a little odd we’re getting this a month before Halloween, but the next Paranormal Activity movie has that more horror-friendly timeslot sewn up and this isn’t really in the same league. But it does have a few effective scares mixed in and the slow burn approach – plus the fact it’s about a young pregnant couple, which at least makes a slight change from the usual dim-witted teens – makes this, if not especially memorable, at least a decent delivery method for a bunch of chills.