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[SXSW] We Saw Some of ‘Annabelle 2’, Which Focuses on Mood and Atmosphere

Annabelle 2 SXSW

It’s no secret that Annabelle, John R. Leonetti’s 2014 spinoff of The Conjuring, wasn’t exactly the best horror offering of the year. No one was really asking for a sequel, but a domestic haul of $84 million(!) said otherwise. It would be fair to say that expectations for the film were pretty low, at least until Lights Out director David F. Sandberg was announced as the director of Annabelle 2. This isn’t the first time that a talented horror director has been tasked with directing the sequel of a poorly-received horror film, and it certainly won’t be the last.

In an effort to convince skeptical audiences that his film will be an improvement over its predecessor, Sandberg took part in the “Face Your Fears” filmmaker discussion at the SXSW Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas. At the panel, Sandberg and It director Andrés Muschietti treated attendees to an exclusive sneak peak of their respective films. Was Bloody Disgusting there to view the footage? You bet we were! Here are our thoughts on the two scenes that Sandberg elected to show us.

Related Article: We’ve Seen Footage from Stephen King’s It!

The time period that Annabelle 2 takes place in was not mentioned, but like Ouija: Origin of Evil, it seems like this may be a prequel that chronicles the origin of the titular doll. The plot of the film centers around a dollmaker and his wife who, after the death of their little girl, welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***

In the first scene that was shown:

Janice (Talitha Bateman), who must walk using a forearm crutch, is hears music coming from a record player in a room that belongs to the dollmaker’s daugher. Sitting on the dead girl’s bed is the Annabelle doll. She goes to turn off the record player when another girl (Ouija: Origin of Evil’s Lulu Wilson) walks in and surprises her. The girls argue for a bit because they’re not supposed to be in the room, and then they get into a skirmish. One of them picks up a toy gun and fires a ping pong-type ball at Annabelle’s head. After arguing for a bit more they notice that Annabelle’s head has suddenly turned to face them. This scares Wilson’s character and she leaves Janice alone in the room with the doll. 

After looking around a bit longer, Janice finds a diary with about three or four pages filled out. She flips though the remaining blank pages until she comes across a page with the words “Today I came home” scrawled on it. At that moment the door shuts by itself, frightening Janice. Eventually, two puppets appear in a toy puppet theater and begin moving by themselves. Janice grabs one of the puppets only to see that there is no one actually operating the puppets. 

Janice then notices a young girl standing at the window, looking out into the yard while tapping the glass. Still facing the window, the girl (who is clearly the dollmaker’s deceased daughter) asks Janice if she can help her. Rather than immediately run out of the room, Janice asks the girl what she needs. Then, in a very effective jump scare, the girl goes full Bilbo Baggins and turns around to reveal a demonic face before screaming in a much deeper voice “Your soul!” Janice, finally wising up, attempts to run out of the room on her crutches. The door slams on her, but she manages to open it up and make it to the hall. All of the doors in the hall slam shut on her and she limps over to the stairs. She lifts herself into the lift chair and straps herself and flips the switch.

The chair doesn’t work initially, and she repeatedly flips the switch for a few torturous seconds as the door to the bedroom opens up and some black tendrils snake their way out into the hall. Finally, the chair starts working and begins its slow descent down the stairs. (I should point out that this moment in the scene is a very effective moment of suspense.) The chair makes it about two thirds of the way down the stairs before it stops and begins slowly ascending the rail. She sees the little girl glaring at her from the top, but once the chair reaches the top she is nowhere to be seen. Janice is then lifted out of her chair and thrown to the floor below.

In the second scene that was shown:

Janice is outside, but in a wheelchair thanks to her incident in the previous scene. She seems nervous, but the dollkeeper’s wife calms her down and tells her to enjoy the fresh air. The woman leaves her outside to relax. Suddenly another woman (her face remains off-screen)  grabs Janice’s wheelchair and begins pushing it towards a barn (fun fact: we learned that this is the “rape barn” from HBO’s Westworld). Janice is shoved inside the barn and thrown off the chair.

She looks around the barn and crawls under some floorboards, where she begins to hear someone walking above her. She then looks off to the side and sees the girl that attacked her before crawling on the ground (think the game of hide-and-seek from The Visit) towards her. The girl attacks Janice, mounts her and then vomits a bunch of black goo into her mouth.

I’m fully aware that a reading a description of a scene isn’t really fun for you guys (and it certainly doesn’t do the footage justice), but until the studio releases the footage online there’s not much else we can do. I can tell you that there does seem to be a bigger emphasis on mood and atmosphere in this film. There are some jump scares, but they were handled well. The footage didn’t blow me away, but it was solid, which at least gives me hope for the sequel (prequel?).

Annabelle 2 will be released nationwide on August 11, 2017.


31 Comments
  • Sky Commander

    So is the a Prequel to the prequel or a sequel? ‘Cause this is making no goddamn sense in the Conjuring series timeline cause Annabelle wasn’t possessed until the last film it was just a regular doll until the cult girl did that ritual.

    • Tanner of Josh

      Yeah…what Sky Commander said.

    • It’s a people-liked-that-bit-in-Conjuring-let’s-make-tonnes-of-pointless-movies-out-of-it-quel

  • RedNeoCon

    Sorry, I love horror, but I tried watching Annabelle and couldn’t last past the first 15 minutes. It was truly that awful.

    How this got a sequel I’ll never know.

    • Wes Draven

      Over 250 million on a 6 million dollar budget.

  • Evan3

    Black tendrils. Vomiting goo into the girl’s mouth. Surprise demonic faces. I know you are putting a happy spin on this, but could these scenes be any more cliched of a milquetoast horror film. My only hope, this “nun” becomes the nun from Conjuring 2.

    • Agree on the cliches, but they were at least well executed, which is more than I can say for the first Annabelle.

      • Evan3

        I’d aim for a higher bar than that!

  • Simon Allen

    It can’t possibly be any worse than the first one i’m thinking but then I remember Ouija – Origin of Evil .

    • After all the positive comments on here I decided to try Origin of Evil even though I hated Ouija. It was just as bad, if not worse

      • Totally disagree. OOOE was a solid horror film.

        • It was a big improvement to start with, I liked the characters and the plot and the retro style, but it was one of those films that tries too hard on the ending and completely fails. The second the boyfriend dies it just becomes a laughable mess as though they threw a tonne of horror clichés together all at once, it made no sense

      • Simon Allen

        Yep ….i was fooled too .

        • Creepshow

          You fell for it? Aw, Christ man!

          • Simon Allen

            To my eternal shame and damnation .

      • Modok

        That’s harsh. Origin of Evil was solid, and certainly better than it had any right to be. It’s not like Flanagan was free to do his own thing. He had to take the first Ouija’s incredibly shitty story and make some actual sense out of it. Considering that handicap, he did a tremendous job.

        • *Spoiler rant, sorry*

          It was better than I expected I agree, but I don’t think it’s harsh to say that the ending was a mess.

          I found it really funny how Lina was bothered by her boyfriend being hanged in front of her by her kid sister for all of 10 seconds and then they seemed to forget he was there. The fact that she could somehow pin down her possessed kid sister who has inhuman strength and telekinetic powers to stitch her mouth shut in literal seconds like it was nothing. Then after all that the out of nowhere stabbing at the end was completely pointless.

          It just felt like they didn’t think about any of it and rushed it out for a few cheap shocks.

          • Modok

            Yeah, it got a little crazy at the end. Frankly, most movies underplay the death of a loved one. It’s usually like, “Oh no, Gary’s dead!” and then they go back to running from the killer. But I think most of the ending’s problems come from the original. When you know the movie has to end with the girl’s lips sewn up and the mother dead, it certainly does limit your options.

    • I hated Origin of Evil.
      The plot is horrible and the CGI effects are awkward (I’m remembering the scene where the possessed girl opens her big mouth, it was so funny).

      • Simon Allen

        Awful movie .

        • IMO Blair Witch and Ouija were the worst films of 2016.

    • WHOA. Origin of Evil was so good!

      • Simon Allen

        I’m not even gonna start…….LOL .
        …..Only to say that i know neither of us are alone in our divided opinions , apparently .

  • It’s Annabelle 2. It’s going to be shit. Let’s not sugar coat it

  • Michael Hill

    I just saw an ad for Burger King. This is what I saw. A kid eating a burger.

  • DucksonAPlain

    And thus The Conjuring Cinematic Universe continues.

  • Charles Cumella

    I really can’t believe they’re making a sequel to Annabelle… It was a terrible spin-off attempt and they should have left it at that, now they’re just expanding on a weak story to make money,

  • Julio Molina

    Really lame subtitles.

  • Nick Botic

    Lol, there is seriously NEVER…..EVER a positive comment in the Bloody Disgusting comment sections. It’s like it’s solely here so people can bitch about their weightless opinions haha

  • Alec Balas

    Am I the only one who thought Annabelle was better than Lights Out?

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