Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home - Review

An introduction scene for the Warrens back in 2013’s The Conjuring has now spawned three different films, all with different settings and characters, but still centered on the hauntings of the creepiest doll in existence: Annabelle. After a less than ideal first entry in 2014, the sequel, Annabelle: Creation was a major improvement, but where exactly does the third entry in this franchise within a franchise fall? Somewhere right in the middle.

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga) lock the possessed doll in the artifacts room in their house. But when the doll awakens the room's evil spirits, it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the couple's 10-year-old daughter (McKenna Grace), her friends and their young babysitter (Madison Iseman).

An Annabelle film could honestly focus on the doll appearing in different settings within a house at random and it would be creepier than a lot of bad horror films. The design of the doll remains about the same, and the filmmakers have still, thankfully, resisted the urge to make it move about like so many scary dolls before it. This time around though there is some back up, some new spin-offs ghosts join the party, each possessing a little corner of the film with unique designs and fairly cliché scares.

In reality, the premise of Annabelle Comes Home really falls into a home invasion style horror mixed with a haunting. Sure, the invaders are ghosts, spirits, demons, and everything in between, but the release of these entities plays out much like something coming to terrorize the inhabitants rather than an unsuspecting family moving in to the situation like other entries in the genre.

Unfortunately, the film features no plot whatsoever. Annabelle Comes Home is about nothing. And because of that, combined with an overly long set up before any scares really come, the 106 minute runtime feels like an eternity. Even then, when it does get to the fun bits of a haunted house premise, the conclusion all wraps up very quickly with a super easy solution. It all feels like the screenplay from writer and director Gary Dauberman is ironically afraid to commit to the horrors that would be going on in that house, missing numerous opportunities to be unique or different.

Annabelle Comes Home is not a bad horror film, it’s another entry in genre that can be very fun at times even if the scary stuff isn’t always hitting. McKenna Grace continues to show off her acting abilities, and a small appearance from Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga goes a long way. But the wasted potential here is very evident, as the actual results are nothing special. If nothing else, at least Annabelle Comes Home just extended the second most successful shared universe for a few more films.

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