Annabelle: Creation

OK, first of all, don't make dolls the same size as children.

“Annabelle: Creation” is a prequel to “Annabelle,” which was a spinoff of “The Conjuring,” which was about the work of a pair of real-life paranormal investigators who really did once have a case involving a creepy doll. Now, at last, we can learn where the doll came from and how it got to be evil, solving a mystery that has nagged at the minds of Warner Bros. executives ever since “Annabelle” made enough money to warrant a followup.

This one, by returning writer Gary Dauberman and new director David F. Sandberg (“Lights Out”), continues the downward trend of the franchise and offers absolutely nothing new, though it does have a few tingly moments of mediocre-horror-movie flavor. It would take a worse filmmaker than David F. Sandberg to completely screw up a creepy doll scenario.

First there is a prologue, set in the ’40s, in which professional doll-maker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), lose their beloved daughter Bee (Samara Lee) in an accident. The fact that Mullins’ latest creation looks a lot like Bee, though unmentioned, is hard to miss.

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C+ (1 hr., 49 min.; R, a few strongly violent images and general scariness; little onscreen violence, and no sex, nudity, or profanity.)