Annabelle Comes Home: Review

annabellehome1Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
R | 1h 46min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 26 June 2019 (USA)

Synopsis: While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

Review: Though not a lover of the horror genre – due to my fears more than anything else – I am a fan of the Conjuring franchise. The films for the most part are well made and we have grown attached to the Warren family and all their antics. In ANNABELLE COMES HOME we get another taste of that creepy doll but also a perspective into the life of Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine’s (Vera Farmiga) daughter. I have never been more thankful that I grew up in a house where my mom had very meaningful but normal jobs. Even if she brought her work home with her it ever tried to kill me.

Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace) has lived her whole life surrounded by the supernatural. But it is only after a newspaper article reveals what her parents do that her life becomes traumatic. Some of her friends are fascinated with the Warren’s occupation but most are more shunning of young Judy. This film takes place during a 24-hour period when her parents are gone and she is being baby sat by Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). When Mary Ellen’s way too curious friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) stops by to get a better look inside the Warren home she unleashes the terrible force that is Annabelle.

Of all the Conjuring films I would rank this one around top 3. Though not nearly as terrifying and well done as Annabelle Creation or the first Conjuring flick; it is still pretty solid. What it has going for it outweighs its faults. What I most enjoyed was the 70s era setting that it takes place in. There is something special about horror films that are set in the pre-technology saturated society. Maybe it is nostalgia for me but I feel it gives the characters a more innocent point of view. The music, clothes and home decor are visual characters all their own. Also the babysitter factor is always a very retro backdrop for chills and thrills. Having an older teen putting it all on the line for their younger ward has always been a horror staple.

The Warrens are an intriguing couple and their laid back view of what some would lose their minds over is always fascinating.  Who brings home a doll so demonically possessed it has to have its own special glass cage? And then has a room full of other items so horrible they have to have it blessed by a priest weekly that they can put the cage in? Who wants a room in their house like that? Anyway, getting  peak into the house and life of the Warrens even in this fictitious account is another positive of the film.

What doesn’t work in this one is the amount of scary elements they throw at us. Annabelles main power is that she draws all other demonic activity to her. So all of the things in the Warren house come to life. It is like Night at the Museum in there. The writers would have been better off to focus on one or two of the entities rather than twice that amount. It gets too weighty and sadly a few of them – the hellhound as an example – come off as silly and comical. In fact there is so much going on that Annabelle loses a lot of screen time. She is there and the driving force behind the conflict but we don’t see her as much. She is top billed and what viewers came to experience.

All three young women give believable performances and deliver the goods. The effects and jump scares are slightly predictable but a few will catch you off guard. There is a level we have come to expect in the franchise and this one lives up to that. ANNABELLE COMES HOME is rated R for horror violence and terror so please leave the kids home with a babysitter. I promise you they will be fine; unless you have a room like the Warrens. If you do? Do a better job of hiding the key.