Oh god, I hope I never have to watch another one of these spin-offs again!
But there's gonna be an Annabelle 3!
Blame Thanos. Apparently the seven year wait for the defeat of the wrinkled mangosteen has studios clamouring for their own shared universes which, I can only assume, will culminate in their own showdowns.
Having launched with The Conjuring in 2013, the presumably regular horror movie quickly spawned a mediocre spin-off and a decent sequel.
And then things spun out of control.
Following the spin-off (Annabelle) and the sequel (The Conjuring 2), came a prequel to the spin-off (Annabelle: Creation), which also planted the seeds for another spin-off (The Nun) based on a new entity from the aforementioned sequel and prequel to the spin-off, which are now joined by a spin-in (The Curse of the Weeping Woman) that ties-in with a reference to the first spin-off, and will all soon be accompanied by a sequel to the original spin-off (Annabelle Comes Home) which will also serve as a midequel to the original film (The Conjuring), and will also be joined by a sequel (The Nun 2) to the spin-off which had spun-off from the sequel to the original along with a similar spin-off (The Crooked Man) from the same sequel.
And you thought Star Wars was confusing just ‘cause the episodes were out of order. At least those come with numbers!
Unfortunately for The Conjuring franchise, the main entries have been of a calibre greater than most would expect from horror of this era. This leaves even mediocre attempts like the first Annabelle looking worse than they might be when compared to other horror flicks.
Especially grating is how despite being six movies in with four more on the way, and producer Peter Safran’s promise that each sub-franchise will have its own style, that almost all of these movie have had the same, banal, take on trying to scare people. We get it, when the annoying music ends, something jumps out at the audience. Thanks, Scorsese.
The pity however is that The Curse of the Weeping Woman (also known as The Curse of La Llorona in some countries) could have actually been good. Much like all its predecessors, it is packed with a good cast, this one in particular led by cult-favourite Linda Cardellini. The kid actors are also great, as has been the case with most horror films, and the plot places effort in having comic relief (though not always delivered elegantly).
The insistence on using the same old attempts at jump scares however, as well as the now uniform make-up for the demonic beings simply make the entire experience frustrating and tiresome.
It also doesn’t bode well that The Curse of the Weeping Woman features debut director Michael Chaves’, who is also set to replace The Conjuring veteran James Wan on The Conjuring 3. While, obviously, the blame for these films should be primarily based on the studios that insist on the homogenised take on horror, The Curse of the Weeping Woman is no vote of confidence for this already antsy about Wan’s departure for blue-r waters.
Perhaps it may be time for franchises that are not owned by Disney to take a good look at their plate and decide whether everything needs to follow that one model.
Though, frankly, the idea of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga putting the beat down on a nun, a doll, and an already crying lady seems to hold its own unique brand of entertainment.
The Curse of the Weeping Woman is out now in theatres, but you should really go watch Fighting With My Family instead.