Annabelle movies are an iconic part of the Conjuring franchise. Here’s why Conjuring 3 is a better future for the franchise than another Annabelle.
Typically, the Conjuring franchise has alternated between releasing Conjuring and Annabelle sequels — however, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It provides a better future for the franchise than another Annabelle movie could. The repetitiveness of the haunted house stories has started to make the franchise stale, but The Conjuring 3 reinvents the franchise in a way that could breathe new life into the universe. With so many of the Warrens’ cases left to explore, there is plenty of potential left in this franchise.
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The Conjuring 3 was markedly different from its predecessors in the franchise, receiving the highest audience scores of the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes. The movies of the Conjuring universe are connected by a few things, namely the Warrens and the artifacts they collect. Annabelle the doll has become a major part of the universe, but it may be time for the franchise to move onto something new instead of adding another Annabelle movie to its ranks.
Conjuring’s Universe Was Getting Stale
The films of the Conjuring universe have so far mostly had a simple formula: the Warrens arrive at a haunted house, discover the spirit’s true identity, have an emotional breakthrough, drive the spirit away, and bring home a new artifact for their collection. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the traditional haunted house story — the classics are classics for a reason — but the Conjuring universe was starting to get a bit stale. Outside of some deviations in setting, the movies are all fairly similar at their core. The Nun and La Llorona offered a little variety from the usual haunted house stories, but ultimately, they, too, followed similar formulas to the Annabelle movies.
The nature of Annabelle movies keeps them following this same formula — the spirit of Annabelle is tied to the doll. As terrifying as a demonic porcelain doll is, it begins to get repetitive when the movies are fundamentally the same. Annabelle: Creation served to tell Annabelle’s origins, but Annabelle Comes Home was just another addition to the basic formula. A fourth Annabelle movie would likely only be more of the same. Instead, the franchise would be smarter to follow The Conjuring 3’s lead and move on from Annabelle. There are still ways to call back to the movies that provided the foundation for the franchise. For example, The Conjuring 3 included callbacks to Annabelle with the Disciples of the Ram, the cult that was introduced in the first Annabelle movie.
The Conjuring 3 Reinvents The Franchise
The latest Conjuring addition provides a fresh opportunity for the future of the franchise. The Conjuring 3 breaks away from the stale routine that the universe was beginning to fall into. Instead of a regular haunted house story, the Warrens take on haunted people. The demon they’re hunting throughout the film isn’t tied to a location like in the previous Conjuring movies so the Warrens go on the road, taking on multiple cases throughout the movie to put the story together. The Warrens are solving a crime this time, chasing after the Occultist’s trail while trying to defend Arne. The Conjuring 3 is also markedly different from its predecessors because the villain is ultimately human. Yes, the Occultist works for a demonic entity, but she herself is only human. The Conjuring 3 relies less on jump scares than the previous movies, instead creating an air of uneasiness and thrills to scare its audience.
The Conjuring 3 reinvents the franchise because it is more about the Warrens than the demons they’re chasing. Lorraine Warren shows off some new abilities throughout the movie, fully transporting her consciousness to other locations and times with seamless camera work. The movie highlights different facets of the Warrens’ life that previous movies haven’t, such as Lorraine’s work with the police on missing person cases, Ed’s failing health, and the paranormal pair’s love story. The Conjuring 3 is as much a love story as a movie about exorcising demons, revealing more about the Warrens’ origins and their lives than previous movies had before.
How The Conjuring 4 Can Build Off Of The Third Movie
There are multiple directions in which future Conjuring movies can go. Now that the series is starting to touch on future cases, there is a world of opportunity waiting. Cases like The Southend Werewolf, where a man named Bill Ramsey exhibited werewolf attributes that couldn’t be explained, or the White Lady of Easton could move the franchise away from the traditional haunted house story while sharing some of the Warrens’ more unique cases. The universe has certainly never tackled the existence of werewolves before, providing an entirely new avenue for the Warrens to explore. The White Lady of Easton resided in a haunted cemetery — even more unexplored territory for The Conjuring 4, in addition to a terrifying new villain. The Warrens did have other more iconic cases, such as the Amityville Horror and the Smurl family haunting, but giving these cases their own movies could fall into the haunted house traps that previous Conjuring movies have fallen into.
A fourth Conjuring movie could also continue to look into the Warrens’ future by including those who took the mantle from the paranormal investigative duo. Their daughter, Judy, and her husband, Tony, took over the Warren’s Occult Museum and New England Society for Psychic Research after the Warrens’ retirement. The pair also trained two well-known demonologists, David Considine and John Zaffis, their nephew. In the opposite direction, the next Conjuring could look at the Warrens’ origins, which audiences were given a hint of in The Conjuring 3. The latest Conjuring movie looks towards the future of the Conjuring universe. It would be a mistake for the franchise to slip back into repetitive haunted house stories or to once again tie its future to the demonically possessed doll.
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