Cast: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson
Director: Gary Dauberman
After 2018’s The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona coming out earlier this year, The Conjuring universe really needed a boost of energy with Annabelle Comes Home. While the original Annabelle was almost universally panned, Annabelle: Creation showed this series had promise and opened the door for other successful installments in the future. So, where does Annabelle Comes Home end up? It’s ok. The premise is pretty generic and the movie gets boring at times, but if you’re into the allure of The Conjuring universe and like decent performances by young actors, then Annabelle Comes Home will satisfy that summer horror craving.
The film follows Judy Warren (Grace), daughter of demonologists Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren from the previous Conjuring movies. When Ed and Lorraine go out of town, they hire Mary Ellen (Iseman) to babysit Judy and Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Sarife) comes over uninvited to see if the rumors about the Warren’s are true. When Daniela tries to connect to her deceased father by breaking into the Warren’s sealed off room of cursed items, she unknowingly unleashes a series of demons into the world and puts herself, Judy, and Mary Ellen into significant danger. Whether or not they survive is up to Judy and her knowledge of these demons and ultimately how to stop them. If you like most of the films of The Conjuring universe, Annabelle Comes Home follows a very similar formula that the previous movies do. The demons take over their scenes and legitimately provide every scare that was planned out from the beginning. I have to give the creators of this franchise credit, because that doll is just utterly creepy to look at and all I want to see if someone finally smash that doll to pieces. Outside of the scares, I actually really enjoyed the direction this movie took with its story. We’ve seen what happens when Ed and Lorraine are the main characters of a movie, so to see one where they are introduced and then disappear for most of the movie was a bold choice. What this leads to is the emergence of three strong young female actresses who act out the proper emotions depending on the scene they’re in. Grace in particular completely understands the universe she’s been placed in and easily handles the role she’s been given. This is most surprising considering she is the youngest actress in the movie and has the most critical role, but this doesn’t seem to bother her and we see her really come into her own. The main issue of the movie is that it teeters on the generic side of things. As stated earlier, it follows the same formula as many of the films that came before it. As someone who has no real allegiance to these characters and stories, this tends to get boring as most people can figure out how this movie will play out. As far as horror movies go, Annabelle Comes Home is a very average movie and gives this franchise the boost it needed, but I know there is more this movie could do with its story to truly make something special.
Overall, Annabelle Comes Home isn’t the great horror movie of the summer, but it makes up for the last two failures in The Conjuring universe and can potentially set it back on track. These spinoff movies have had a rough go in this franchise with most of them being critical duds, but Annabelle Comes Home is probably the best one behind Annabelle: Creation. Hopefully The Conjuring 3 fixes these issues next year, but for the time being Annabelle Comes Home serves as a decent bridge from the garbage we had to the films we hope will come.
Overall Score: 5.5/10