Film reviews

Annabelle Comes Home – Review

And so continues the… Conjuring-verse? The… James Wan-iverse? The… Warren-verse?

Here’s another Conjuring movie.

There must be a point where we, as an audience, lose any semblence of sympathy for morons in horror movies, no matter how good their intentions. You can pluck a handful of films from whichever orifice you may choose which will prove that you don’t need to batch-create fools, like every village in England needs a new idiot. Only last week, Midsommar brought cinema-goers a smart, haunting and terrifying horror movie with nary a lobotomised muppet in sight.

Annabelle Comes Home is yet another entry in the universe of horror movies based around the works of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). Like almost every six film long series – Or is it seven? Has anyone checked The Curse of La Llorona‘s pulse? – there have been ups and downs; The Conjuring films were fun and scary but far too long. Annabelle and The Nun had fun moments and even fans knew they should have been better. Annabelle: Creation was a good horror film that stands out as a shining moment in the series’ spin-offs in as much as it was actually scary and, more importantly, more interesting than trying to send that fag butt down the other end of the pub urinal trough using nothing but your pee.

In fairness, Annabelle Comes Home only has one part-baked imbecile this time. Everyone else is unwittingly dragged along for the ride. Better still, it’s NOT the babysitter!

Being away for the night, Ed and Lorraine Warren have to leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace – well known for playing the “young” version of stars in I, Tonya, The Haunting of Hill House, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina etc.) with her regular babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) with pizza money and plans to make birthday cake. Plans go awry when Mary Ellen’s friend Daniella (Katie Sarife) invades the pair’s fun filled evening wanting to take a look around the horror filled house that has recently found publicity in the local papers.

And here is where the stupid happens.

Daniella, having been warned by the child who lives in this house how dangerous the Warren’s storage room is, isn’t put off or worried by the four locks on the door with warnings all over it. Nor do any alarm bells ring at the enormous warning sign on the locked box that houses a demonic doll. No no, not this girl. Desperate to talk to her recently deceased father, Daniella angers all the horrible spirits in the room and then lets Annabelle – a creepy doll that works as a conduit between our world and whatever may be beyond – out of her blessed box to let her continue her quest for a soul.

READ MORE: Midsommar – Score Review

Now the teenagers and the young Judy – who herself sees spirits – spend the night haunted by various ghosts, curses and other wikipedia-able bad guys. Horrible scary monsters try to do horrible scary things to the threesome while they try to figure out how to stop it. Spoiler: they need to get Annabelle back in the box. Funny that.

There isn’t much original left in the haunted house genre, The Conjuring films keep coming back to it because they have found themselve a unique selling point: the monsters. No matter the quality of the films, the ghosts, their stories and their designs make these films worth visiting. The Crooked Man or Valak stick out where their film may not, necesarrily. ACH has a similar positive, even if it is stretching it a little bit.

Ghouls like the malicious “Ferryman”, the boatman from the afterlife who is surrounded by other souls, is a well made if slightly generic monster that needed more screen time so we could enjoy his haunting of Mary Ellen. The Warren’s museum of horrors becomes a prison for Daniella who is attacked by ghosts associated with anything she has touched. She’s a teenager, so, everything. Here though, while there are some cool looking demons, Annabelle Comes Home becomes what everyone who went to see Avengers: Infinity War without seeing a single Marvel film beforehand complained about; ghost after ghost, ghoul after ghoul that felt like they needed a film to introduce them to the audience first before three hapless children try to stop Thanos Annabelle, from taking over the world.

Along with The Ferryman, there is a particularly great haunted television that ups the tension very well. Like if the people on Gogglebox suddenly found themselves watching themselves watching horror movies. It’s an atmospheric scene that does a great job in picking at your nerves. Unfortunately, while atmosphere is great, Annabelle Comes Home always resorts to loud bang jump scares. You can say that this latest Annabelle film is scary in the same way that someone throwing a drumkit at a wall in a library is scary. It made you jump, but it was always going to whether or not the atmosphere was good.

READ MORE: James Bond – The Road to Bond 25, Part Eight: Diamonds Are Forever (1971

Annabelle Comes Home is… okay. It’s challenge will never be finding people to watch it – it is a fully functioning date night horror movie that’ll fill seats and sell big buckets of popcorn. The challenge will be remembering which Annabelle movie that scene you remember enjoying came from. There is something here to enjoy and it doesn’t hit the dizzying lows of The Nun; even if the film seems to play out as a Conjuring 3 script that wouldn’t compare to the first two, but would make a decent Annabelle film after most forgave the series after Creation.

Horror fans should be off watching  and supporting films like Midsommar. But if Pagan ritualistic sex tapestries aren’t your thing, Annabelle’s latest outing is entertaining and harmless enough. You’ll enjoy your hour and forty minutes with Annabelle Comes Home, but you won’t be rushing to watch it a second time.

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