While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit in a doll.
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, McKenna Grace, Madison Iseman, and Katie Sarife
Directed by: Gary Dauberman
Written by: James Wan, and Gary Dauberman
It was like love at first fright when Annabelle debuted in “The Conjuring.” I just knew fans needed more of her, and we’ve had more of her than I could’ve ever imagined. However, some of that love disappeared by the end of “Annabelle Creation” because it really sunk in that Annabelle would never be like Chucky. She draws the evil out, but never is going to be more than a creepy looking doll.
That’s made clear when “Annabelle Comes Home” begins with the Warren couple trying to bring Annabelle home. Evil spirits are drawn to her in a great scene that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. As quickly as the Warren’s make an appearance, they’re off leaving this haunting experience to their young daughter Judy (McKenna Grace). She’s not alone, as her babysitter Mary (Madison Iseman), and friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) are left to fend off an assault of evil by Annabelle and company.
And what a wonderful assault of evil it is! It all works because they keep everything so simple. Babysitter’s friend comes over and decides to open doors she shouldn’t. Annabelle is released from her box, and all the evil spirits in the Warren’s secret room do their best to scare the girls, and the audience. The tension is high, and the pace of the scares will keep the audience glued to the screen.
Besides a couple of quick moments outside, all of the action takes place in the house. In turn they create a terrific haunted house experience. Obviously there are some great scares in the secret room, but arguably the best one takes place in Judy’s bedroom. Lets just say she has a special light in the room, which the audience knows is going to play a role at some point, and it doesn’t disappoint.
It’s nice to see Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) back again, but they aren’t the stars of the show this time. That belongs to the three young ladies McKenna, Madison, and Katie. All of them are fantastic both when it’s time to be afraid, and when it’s time to stand up and fight. McKenna does this the best, and does this with the most pressure on her. Being the youngest but most experienced with the paranormal, Judy is forced to lead the others out of this mess. Hopefully she’ll return in future Conjuring movies, or even another Annabelle.
Less is more in “Annabelle Comes Home,” and it creates probably the best of the three Annabelle movies. A simple plot with one location, and the focus on primarily three characters allows the scares to flow. There’s a combination of familiar demons, and some creepy new ones that will keep the audience on edge. In the end I’m glad I didn’t give up on Annabelle, and even more excited to see her reach the heights I knew she could when she first appeared. Because this movie provides such a great blueprint on how to make a true scary movie, I give it 4 pools of blood!