Annabelle Comes Home (Gary Dauberman, 2019) USA

Reviewed by Kaio Farkouh.

We might be living in an era with amazing horror movies to date. “Hereditary”, “Get Out”, “Us”,” The Witcher”, however, all of them are standalone movies.  And then we have “The Conjuring” universe, which started back in 2016, that follows the story about Warren’s family, in particular, the paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson). Based on the conjuring series, a universe of movies has been created, which all involve the Warren family and their hunted artifacts. “Annabelle Comes Homes” is the seventh in The Conjuring Universe, the movie also works as a sequel and a prequel. After lows and highs. In terms of “Annabelle” standards, this one works.

The movie starts right at the end of when Warren’s family gets the doll and are on their way back home, to lock her to avoid her to do any more harm. They are gone for the weekend, and Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace) is staying at the house, with her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). When Ellen’s friends, Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife), finds out that her friend will be there, it is her way to sneak into the house and see if it is true all the talk about ghosts and demons involving Warren’s family. And that is when she unknowingly awakes an evil spirit.

Horror movies are a hard genre to craft. Movies after movies, it becomes predictable, cliche and very forgettable. One of the great things about horror movies is how intriguing they can be. They do not need to be scary, but how they create tension. First-time director Gary Dauberman does a very good job of managing those predictable and cliches moments that we have seen before. Scenes like the characters are leading to do something and then comes a jump scare. He plays with the audience and he seems to know what is doing, however, it is hard to run from all horror movies cliches. So, of course, you will see scenes with stupid decisions that are only there to move the plot. Most of the time the director does a good job of staying away from jump scares, which is something that the “Annabelle” series has been doing.

At some point in the movie, the character of Sarife’s speaks about interesting themes like life after death, guilty and also grief. However it does no translate to the story, and it feels like the story was never interested in going deep in such themes like that, different from the movie “Hereditary.” And that for me kind of bothers me, because, in the end, the movie was just 175 minutes movie that did entertain me while I was watching, but it will become very forgettable with the time. So the most interesting character in the movie for me was Grace’s. She takes all the consequences of her parents job, and you can feel sadness in her. And also, she is very smart and has good decisions throughout the movie.

“Annabelle Comes Home” is a nice addition to this universe of horror movies. It is better than the past 2 “Annabelle” movies and it also makes a good time for the director’s debut. However, the movie lacks in a deeper story to tell with more interesting themes and ends up being a forgettable movie that does not say much, but has its own merit.

 

 

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