It’s time to return once again to the setting where being stabbed is roughly the equivalent of getting punched kinda hard and spirits have an unhealthy obsession with dolls. I don’t know if this will be last of these movies to get made but it is the last one that I can watch for now. After the shift from the first movie to the second, I was curious how this would translate. Especially given that the doll in Doll 2 was already named Sabrina and they had yet to bring back anything from other movies aside from the main psychic, Laras. This one, however, ends up not actually bringing back the same doll but a replica that gets made. However we do get a return of the wife from the previous movie, Maira, and what feels like a thematic mash-up from the first two films.
In this installment of the franchise, we see that Maira apparently did go through with the divorce after all. Not only that but she also remarried and the two are now taking care of his niece, Vanya, after her parents died. Aiden, the new husband, then reveals that he made an entire Sabrina 2.0 line of dolls based on her dead kid’s favorite toy that got possessed by also by her dead kid. Instead of being repulsed or at least baffled by this, she thinks it’s great and gives it to the niece because Maira has retained no previous knowledge of her prior experience outside of knowing Laras. To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the kid that lost her parents wants to see her mom again and tries to contact her using the Charlie, Charlie game because that’s the hip new version of a Ouija board. Oops, turns out some spooky shenanigans are on the way.
As I said before, the movie feels like a real mash-up of the previous films. It borrows a lot of the thematic elements from 2 by having it be a mother/daughter connection through a Sabrina doll. Not to mention that it has the mother from the first movie back again in a similar situation. Then it takes a lot of the evil spirit ideas from the first movie and throws in some Conjuring rip-off shots like they had in the first movie as well. I am fairly disappointed that Maira, as soon as Vanya started saying she was seeing her mom, didn’t just immediately go, “Oh shit, I’ve dealt with this before. Time to get the fuck over to my psychic friend’s house.” No, instead she doesn’t believe her and we get a re-hash of the vacation scene from the second movie. The amount of scenes and plot points that mirror the previous film make you question if this is trying to build a franchise with its own visual language or if they ran out of ideas and went to the same well they did before.
Spoilers: One of the biggest callbacks to the first movie also ties into one of the main running themes of these movies. Namely, that husbands are assholes. Much like in the first movie, the big reveal of Sabrina is that the husband is actually responsible for the deaths of Vanya’s parents because he paid to have a demon summoned in order to kill his brother so he could inherit all of the family company. After seeing the first two films, this probably shouldn’t come as a shock because the husband is also directly related to the tragedy that is now fucking everything up. More and More, as you watch these movies, you see that they are almost acting as a religious morality tale. If you are greedy or lustful, then you will be punished and only God can save you from the evils you have loosed upon the world. Not that that makes it worse, as things like Friday the 13th have been doing morality punishment killings for years.
Score: 3.5 out of 5. While the technical quality of the movie’s sound and picture and so on have improved, this installment feels more like coasting on the previous ones than trying to do anything new. Also, why are all these movies set in mansions? Can you only get haunted if you have a 3 story house or bigger?