Annabelle Comes Home: Small Body Count, No Less Terrifying (Review)

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It’s a weird thing, I love the Conjuring Universe more with every film they put in it. Annabelle Comes Home is the latest iteration.  Once again set in the 70s, once again fantastic. There’s something so wonderful about the 70s for horror. The decor is so iconic but a little surreal, so when you turn the lights out it can be really unsettling.  It is the Uncanny Valley but for living spaces. Plus no cell phones and no internet. If something awful is after you, you’re pretty much on your own.

While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

The first thing I noticed about Annabelle Comes Home was a smaller body count.  I’m not spoiling anything here, there was just a much smaller cast. It’s refreshing to see a film that doesn’t try to be scary by volume.  Instead, this film relied on good character development. I’m actually a bit torn on that one. On the one hand, caring about the characters makes it scarier when bad things happen.  But it’s hard to get invested because we know the genre of the film we’re seeing. You don’t get attached to characters when they have such a short life expectancy.

Such a good cast on this one; the acting was wonderful.  Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife were charming and had solid chemistry, both between them and with every other character.  McKenna Grace was amazing in this – it was so easy to worry about her. The boys were wonderful too. Patrick Wilson is a handsome man and Michael Cimino was so charming and gormless.  There was, sadly, no fan service.

Annabelle Comes Home is one of those films that has a magnificent setup and then struggles to deliver.  You can can see it in the trailer – there’s a whole room of cursed objects. So when containment was inevitably broken, I was expecting something that could be described with the words ‘blast radius’.  That’s not to say the film wasn’t terrifying; it definitely was. But it took a long time for the shit to hit the fan. There were some legitimately scary scenes – one part (involving coins, for those of you who have seen it) almost made me pee my pants.

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So is Annabelle Comes Home worth watching?  Yes, especially if you’re a fan of the series.  I came to The Conjuring Universe late, so didn’t remember Lorraine and Ed Warren but that didn’t matter.  Annabelle Comes Home stands on its own. I especially liked how much this film expanded the mythology. I want to see a movie about those damn coins.

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