Possess them all
Plot: While babysitting the daughter (Grace) of Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Farmiga), Mary Ellen (Iseman) and her friend Katie (Sarife) unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.
Director: Gary Dauberman
Before going to see the latest in the film in The Conjuring Universe I asked a couple of friends who’d already been to see Annabelle Come Home, asking if it was worth seeing and how it compared to its predecessor The Nun, which although a little cliche and predictable I found to be a solid enough popcorn horror film, with the answer generally being it’s okay but the formula is starting to get a little tired and in much the same was as the superhero extended universes, the setup for the next movie takes away from the one you’re currently watching.
The strange thing about Annabelle Come Home is just how little the Annabelle doll is in the movie, with the same to be true about Ed and Lorraine Warren, who apart from a small cameo at the beginning, are largely absent until the end, instead, it’s left to the Warrens daughter Judy, her babysitter and best friend to combat the combined forces of evil and once in a blue moon, a demonic doll.
Bringing together The Conjuring films and the first Annabelle movie, this format kinda makes sense, the only issue is that it doesn’t entirely work. The sequences with Ed and Loraine feel like a separate movie to the one with Judy and her friends, the latter being a lot cheesier and undoing the hard work the makers had put in to building tension, with a particular scene involving a pizza delivery boy and the boy next door closer to a horror-comedy than a supernatural film played with a straight face.
This isn’t to say the film doesn’t deserve some praise, the cast all do a good job, Mckenna Grace especially puts in a solid performance as a young budding clairvoyant dealing with a vengeful demon possession, while Katie Sarife gives the film the emotional edge it evidently needed.
There are some more aspects of the film that I found enjoyable, such as the strong and imaginative character designs, opening up multiple opportunities for future films. The ferryman, the one that piqued my interest the most, I hope it’s him and not the CGI cloud-werewolf that they chose for the eventual spin-off.
Although not one of the best films in The Conjuring cinematic universe, Annabelle Comes Home is still a solid, somewhat scary and well-acted horror that despite its identity issues proves that there is still life in the series and to expect more spinoffs to follow.