Annabelle Comes Home / Annabelle 3 (2019) – Movie Review
Annabelle Comes Home is the seventh instalment in the Conjuring Universe and the sequel to the last two Annabelle spinoff films. The film is written and directed by Gary Dauberman, who wrote those Annabelle films as well but this is actually his first time directing a movie.
The ghost-busting heroes of the main Conjuring films, Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively, are in this film but they’re not the main characters. In the plot, they are going away for a night so they hire a high school babysitter Mary Ellen, played by Madison Iseman, to come over to the house to look after their daughter Judy, played by Mckenna Grace.
Mary’s friend, Daniella, played by Katie Sarife, comes over to the house uninvited and because of her, the possessed doll Annabelle is freed from the holy glass box that contains its evil spirit and it awakens the other evil spirits and supernatural beings in the Warrens’ Occult Museum, a room in the house where Ed and Lorraine locked all the haunted artifacts.
The three girls must somehow survive the night without any past experience in dealing with harmful spirits and demons.
Now, did I enjoy the film? The short answer is yes but not because it’s groundbreakingly scary.
Despite the cliched haunted house formula, the film sets up the characters and things for the premise quite well. The performances are faultless. Mckenna Grace is fantastic as the Warrens’ little girl.
It’s no where as spooky and terrifying as the main Conjuring films but it’s still a mildly scary and fun ride. It’s a very playful kind of horror and it features more than a couple of different supernatural beings. There’s a lot of teasing.
The ghosts do a lot of hide-and-seek and this… Tada! Disappears and reappears. A lot of walking around in the background basically.
Then it just keeps repeating in different rooms and hallways. Some of them end with a loud jumpscare, of course, but thankfully, there’s not a lot of them.
It doesn’t make sense, I know. If the evil spirits or demons really intend to kill, why don’t they just do it instead of messing around? But I just left my brains under the seat and it was enjoyable in spite of the repetitive, typical scares.
However, I do feel that there’s a huge missed opportunity here. They had the entire Warrens’ Occult Museum to scare us with. It’s like a theme park buffet of a variety of horror and to James Wan and Warner, it’s a gallery of potential spinoffs. But sadly, only a few artifacts and cases are “awakened” to threaten the characters. I thought the film could’ve offered a lot more than this.
Are there any new ideas or creative scares? Not really. Most of the time it’s predictable and the new haunted artifacts don’t really do much. There’s a haunted samurai armour that I really wish it does more than it does in this film. No, please, I’m not asking for another cash-grab spinoff to be made. It’s just, there are times I felt that the film really pulled its punches. As though that’s not enough, the film also has some humour and comic relief characters. It felt like they wanted to keep the movie family-friendly or something.
And the CGI of one of the supernatural are so unconvincing, I thought I was watching Goosebumps. But I was still okay with it.
The major problem I have with the film and the whole Conjuring series is the lack of serious consequences at the end. I don’t remember any of the characters from the main plot actually dies at the end of any of the instalments. It’s always someone who died in the past or recently that’s haunting the doll or house or something. But no one ever dies in the main plot. Only animals maybe.
I understand that the series is somewhat based on the true cases investivated by the real-life Warrens but these prequels and spinoffs are mostly, if not completely, fictional. It’s really contradicting when everyone survives, even when they’re trapped in a room filled with items that are possessed by evil spirits.
Wouldn’t it be more unpredictable and impactful if someone actually dies? Or at least lose a finger or something? Otherwise it really is just like a theme park ride even for the characters. In the next instalment, if any of the main story characters is being chased by ghost, I’d probably be like, yawn, what’s the point, they’re definitely not going to die anyway.
However, in overall, Annabelle Comes Home may not be as good as its predecessor (2017) but it’s still an enjoyable horror flick especially if you’re familiar with the characters and supernatural beings of the franchise. It’s not super scary and it’s definitely a huge missed opportunity too but well, at least it’s fun.
Running Time: 106 minutes
Director-writer: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga
Malaysia Release Date: 27 June 2019
Local Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia
Production: New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster Productions, The Safran Company