Annabelle: Creation, the prequel to 2014’s Annabelle – which, was itself, a prequel to The Conjuring – goes deep into the origin story of how one already terrifying looking doll got to be so haunted.

After losing their only daughter, Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto) open their home up to Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman), a nun who turns the Mullins’ home into an orphanage for girls. What Sister Charlotte doesn’t know is that Samuel, a doll maker, has made a possessed doll who is violently protective of her home and her family.

While critics haven’t called Annabelle: Creation the best film in the Conjuring series, the film holds a solid 71 percent on the review aggregator site Rottentomatoes.com. While some say the film is a decent horror film without much surprises, others feel that the lack of surprises is the result of a reliance on clichés and tired horror tropes.

See what the critics have to say below.

ANNABELLE: CREATION REVEW ROUND UP

Annabelle: Creation is technically, if not quite thematically, the fourth film in the somewhat vaguely-defined “Conjuring” franchise. What is impressive about these films is that they rely on some of the oldest tropes in the genre but execute them with a generally high level of craft. Annabelle: Creation may not be a fresh take on its material. Still, it’s well-staged and delivers exactly what it promises.” – Rafer Guzmán, Newsday

“Despite the lurking camera and a volume cranked to 20 designed to make us jump, director David F. Sandberg’s tactics lead to diminishing returns. In short order, the doll-drums set in. The movie is the latest standalone flick in a chiller series, and fans may appreciate how it works as an origin story and threads together with the earlier Annabelle and a couple of Conjuring movies. Is that enough to make Annabelle: Creation recommendable? Hell no, Dolly!” – Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News

“These movies are almost always more effective during the escalation portion of the evening; by the last act, they all turn into The Exorcist on steroids, bombarding the audience with lots of sound, fury, and special effects. Still, Sandberg makes the most of his adopted formula, using it as a good excuse to try out some new techniques, to the point where Annabelle herself becomes almost irrelevant. Certainly, Creation has more fun with a suspiciously mobile scarecrow the girls stumble upon. But will his barnyard shtick sustain the whole spin-off the Conjuring team will inevitably conjure up for him?” – A.A. Dowd, A.V Club

“Yet another tiresome film in the formulaic and metastasising devil-doll horror franchise that started with The Conjuring and its sequel The Conjuring 2, notionally inspired by real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Annabelle: Creation is, heartsinkingly, a prequel to the prequel that was Annabelle (2014), which gave the glassy-eyed Victorian doll from The Conjuring its own backstory…It’s the same old jump scares, the same old deafening audio stabs – the same old cliches and dull, lazy secondhand ideas.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian 

Watch the trailer for Annabelle: Creation below.