lorraine warren holding the annabelle doll

Review: Annabelle Comes Home

Director(s)Gary Dauberman
Principal CastMckenna Grace as Judy Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Madison Iseman as Mary Ellen
Katie Sarife as Daniela Rios
Release Date2019
Running Time 106 minutes

I didn’t like Annabelle. I did like Annabelle: Creation. Both Wilson and Farmiga have been great in the other Conjuring movies they’ve been in, so when I saw the trailer for this movie I had real hope. The Warrens and Annabelle – maybe it could be as good as the movies in the main franchise. The movie even starts off with a bait, introducing Ed and Lorraine as they’re on their way back home with the Annabelle doll ready to be stored away. They get it in it’s iconic case and emphasize its power. Then they disappear from the movie and we get to the absurd mess that is the main story line.

The movie follows Judy, the Warrens daughter, and the mishaps that occur when her parents go off…to do something? Anyways, she’s left with her babysitter Mary for the day. Mary’s friend Daniela then comes over and opens and touches everything in the Warren’s demonic possession room. Then Annabelle gets loose and releases OTHER DEMONS to be menacing to the girls and the movie chronicles their miserably boring endeavors to fight them off. Another Annabelle movie where Annabelle doesn’t do anything of her own account. It’s like what’s the point of making these spin-off movies if you’re not going to actually expand on the character or make them more menacing in their own right.

Speaking of menacing- nothing in this movie is. All the “monster of the weeks” are poorly set up through lazy exposition and have no meaningful significance to any of the characters. They’re all just cheap attempts at recapturing the magic of creatures like the Nun or the Crooked Man but they don’t work. It’s sad because the movie is actually shot pretty well. There are some nice tracking shots that amplify the tension. If the scares took advantage of those the movie could have been so much more effective. There are plenty of great scenes early on where there are just scary apparitions in the background waiting- but the movie doesn’t know how to deal with them outside of fake-out jump scare. It gets repetitive which makes the 3rd act of the movie feel like the same scene happening in succession.

The whole movie just feels like a missed opportunity. So many cool ideas don’t get teased out properly.Exploring the life of a child ostracized because of her parents demonology background is interesting and I thought the movie would be a family drama centering around that issue. Instead, it’s ignored and never develops into anything meaningful. Exploring the Annabelle doll’s actual power? Nah, let’s let her summon other spirits instead. Have a good reason for someone to enter the room and do anything? Nah, we can just skirt around the issue and give her some vague sad backstory. It’s all just unsatisfying, especially when all the pieces to resolve these questions are present in the story. Heck you could even have the babysitter and her friend- just introduce them naturally and have the inciting incident be more believable. I don’t know – it just feels sloppy.

Report Card

TLDRAnnabelle Comes Home feels like a series of missed opportunities wrapped up into a generic feeling horror movie. The Warrens are barely in the movie , so don’t hold your breath if your expecting this to feel like The Conjuring.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!


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