Back in 2013 when James Wan’s The Conjuringreleased, it scared the bejesus out almost everyone and was followed by several spin-offs like Annabelle, Anabelle: Creation, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorona aka The Curse of the Weeping Woman and a sequel in The Conjuring 2. Barring The Conjuring 2, which was a worthy successor, all other spin-offs failed to repeat the magic of The Conjuring films. Even though all the spin-offs were a success but far from scary.
So, it was quite obvious that I wasn’t much excited about the new Annabelle movie, Annabelle Comes Home. But after a bunch of mediocre spin-offs, The Conjuring Universe finally gets its worthy (read: scary) spin-off in Annabelle Comes Home. Unlike the previous two Annabelle films, the third part is about the Warrens.
The movie starts off with Ed and Lorraine (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bringing Annabelle home and containing it into a glass chamber. The duo had to go out of town leaving their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) with a caretaker, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). All hell breaks loose when Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) opens the glass chamber unleashing Annabelle.
Direction, Screenplay and Writing
As I mentioned above, I had very low expectations from the film, moreover from the movies in this universe outside, of course, The Conjuring films. But, buoy I was surprised…or rather scared. Gary Dauberman, who has been the writer of several horror films like It, The Nun, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation etc makes his directorial debut with Annabelle Comes Home and it is a worthy debut. The movie has enough scares and chills to keep you at the edge of your seat. Rather than taking a cue out of its previous films, Annabelle Comes Home plays more like those kids adventure flicks from the 80s, you know along the lines of, say, The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and recenNTLY, It.
While the trailer featured Ed and Lorraine Warren, the movie is mainly about the four kids and about their quest to contain the evil that is Annabelle, the doll. Another good thing is that, how much can you scare people by a doll and now that it is established early in the movie that Annabelle is a beacon for the evil spirits, Gary pulls all the strings and gives a wide variety of ghosts. From a werewolf, a satanic creature, the woman in a wedding dress, an ancient warrior, a board game, Ferry Man to a TV that shows you the immediate future, Annabelle Comes Home has got it all. And it’s all spine-chilling.
The script which is co-written by James Wan and Gary himself is fine. But, what liked was that the Warrens are not the ones who save the day. In fact, they have a special appearance in the film. It is up to these kids to save themselves from the deadly havoc they wreaked upon themselves in the first place. Gary has enough tricks up his sleeves which he pulls out to make the film worth your time and money. He has done a commendable job.
The movie also does something unexpected which is way outside the Conjuring universe we know. It blends in humour amidst the scary chaos and that’s a welcome change.
All the actors have given good performances. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga can now easily be called the veterans of this universe or maybe the genre as well. They have a great screen presence and bring in the aura. Madison Iseman, Mckenna Grace and Katie Sarife are good in their parts. They hold the movie together with their performances. Michael Cimino as Bob is funny.
The music has been used well. The score is good. The use of fog adds to the mystic and the editing is also edgy. The movie’s runtime is about 1 hour 46 minutes and it plays like a dream…err… nightmare.
Annabelle Comes Home is not without its downsides. The plot is cliched and so are the actions of some of the characters. I specifically despised Daniela. She was too over smart and annoying for her own good. I so wanted her to be killed (True Story). And not once I felt empathetic towards her. That’s not to say about the performance of the actress but the character itself was written in such a way that I was just annoyed by her. Also, the mid portions dip for a bit…just a little bit.
If you love horror movies and are a sucker for them, Annabelle Comes Home should be your choice for this weekend. It is scary, chilling and, in fact, even funny. I am glad that The Conjuring Universe has finally got a worthy spin-off.
Rating: 3.5 stars