Before we get into the ending, let’s revisit some of the movie’s more important details, which you may have missed out on if you got to your seats late. (Or if you’re new to the franchise — despite being a sequel many times over, this relatively ambitious monster mash is surprisingly newbie-friendly.)
In case one glance at her over-the-top messed-up mug doesn’t tell the whole story, Annabelle is obviously a haunted doll. But the haunting works in a very specific way, leaving her more or less devoid of personality — especially compared to her haunted doll compatriots in the Child’s Play and, uh, Toy Story series.
While the doll can inexplicably move around in a way that gives off the impression of possession, Annabelle isn’t really a character of her own — she’s more like Billy from James Wan’s own Saw series, serving as a mascot, tool, and avatar of the true forces of evil.
The rules of the Annabelle doll have been previously set up in both the mainline Conjuring movies and the self-titled spinoff series. Rather than having any consciousness herself, she serves as what Lorraine calls a beacon for other spirits, essentially boosting the wi-fi signal for any ghost in her vicinity. As a result, she’s very useful for ghosts and demons, and uniquely deadly to human beings, seemingly containable only by being placed in a locked chamber of holy chapel glass — you know, the kind of thing the Warrens would just naturally have sitting around.