Annabelle Comes Home
Annabelle Comes Home
If you’re keeping track, Annabelle Comes Home is the third Annabelle movie, the second film from the Conjuring series to be released in 2019, and the seventh in that franchise overall. Though the series has been hit or miss, this is the first one to successfully feel like a good old-fashioned haunting throwback.
After our introduction to the on-screen version of real-life spiritualists Lorainne and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) in 2013’s The Conjuring, we’ve had plenty of time to get to know the most famous resident of their spooktacular quarantine: Annabelle the doll. Through the magic of Hollywood, what should in reality be an innocent-looking doll is reimagined as unsettling and awkwardly large, something that no one would ever mistake for an innocuous plaything. This little cloth and porcelain lady has already had not one but two origin movies, and now we finally get to see her exploits after she has been locked away by the Warrens into their den of haunted artifacts.
Though Annabelle Comes Home begins with Ed and Lorainne bringing Annabelle “home,” they’re largely absent from the film. What we have here is a “the call is coming from inside the house” style of horror film that kicks back to the days before cell phones. The Warren child, Judy (Mckenna Grace), is left with reasonably responsible babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) while the parents are away tending to their careers by talking about ghosts. The night is all pizza delivery and cake baking when Mary Ellen’s friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife), crashes the party and ignores every single rule the Warrens have posted around their house. Throw in a teenage boy named Bob (Michael Cimino – no, not the director of Heaven’s Gate) who’s crushing pretty hard on Mary Ellen and we have a good recipe for more than just a birthday cake.
Rather than mucking about with too much plot or deep character development, Annabelle Comes Home embraces the fact that it’s just a fun little haunting movie. It’s jumpy. It’s spooky. It’s fun. It never feels like the stakes are very high (the idea of killing a kid or two for the sake of entertainment would be far too dark for the series), but that doesn’t stop Annabelle from doing her best to ensure that none of these kids will be able to easily fall asleep for the foreseeable future. The gags are effective and will keep viewers leaping out of their seats periodically.
We’ve seen plenty of haunted house movies and plenty creepy doll movies, and plenty of babysitting gone amuck movies, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for one more, so long as it’s done right. Annabelle Comes Home does it right.