Annabelle Comes Home movie poster

Annabelle Comes Home

In theaters June 26, 2019

Rated

, ,

100 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

The Conjuring franchise is clearly a Warner Bros cash cow, and as long as people keep paying to see them, they’ll keep making them. Having said that, I wish Annabelle Comes Home as well as other horror movies, had a stronger story that didn’t rely on a premise that feels phoned in.

It’s the early 70s, and Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are returning home from their last case with a demonic, but poorly secured, Annabelle doll in the backseat. Passing a cemetery Lorraine determines that the doll itself isn’t necessarily demonic, but act as a beacon for other spirits. They arrive home and secure her in their “museum” in a glass cabinet from a church, “sealing” it with holy water and prayers, to keep it from calling in reinforcements.

The next day they leave for a conference, putting their 10-year-old daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace), in the charge of her responsible high school babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Inviting herself for the overnight, is Mary Ellen’s friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife). Danielle is only concerned with getting into the museum to poke around the creepy artifacts the warrens have collected. Ignoring the warnings on the doors like DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING, Daniela literally touches everything, eventually coming across a bracelet she can use to contact her dead father. Finding Annabelle’s Cabinet, the one that says POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN, she opens it, kicking off a terrible night of the Warren’s Greatest Haunting Hits, like Bee from Annabelle Creation (2017) from the Ferryman, to the Wedding Dress, to a Hellhound, etc. With Daniela trapped in the basement, and Mary Ellen and Judy trapped upstairs, no one is sure any of them will survive the night.

Horror movies work best with the victims are innocent bystanders caught in something they didn’t ask for. In Annabelle Comes Home, everything happens because someone absolutely had to disregard the rules putting the entire household in danger. When every move a character makes incites a groan from the audience (looking at you Daniela), waiting for the bad things to happens becomes significantly less fun. We only like seeing bad guys suffer the consequences of their actions, not stupid people who lack common sense.

If you can put that aside, the rest of Annabelle Comes Home has some very clever scares. There is a haunted game called Feely Meely which has players put their hands into a dark box, and a Samurai suit that guards entrances and screams, and a haunted wedding dress that turns wearers psychotic. I almost forgot about the Ferryman with reflective coins for eyes who collects the souls of the dead for a price. All of it ramps up an otherwise loose trapped teen story into an atmospheric haunting that very nearly fires on all cylinders. Frankly, the set up ruined it for me- I mean who leaves their daughter in a house with barely locked room of haunted artifacts and the keys where anyone can grab them DANIELA – but had the beginning been thought out more with a solid beginning that didn’t feel lazy, I really could have enjoyed it more.

Save it for a matinee when you want to be creeped out, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for bone-deep scares.

Annabelle Comes Home is rated R (why) for that creepy-ass doll, ghosts, disembodied screams, and lots of running. I don’t think it’s earned a Rated R, at least not by any standards I can come up with.

Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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