Annabelle Comes Home
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Year 9, Review 15. The 263rd review overall.
The family and I went to a trunk or treat event at the Toledo Botanical Garden, and let me tell you, President Baby’s costume is just the cutest in the world. He was strutting his stuff all over the place until he became too tired and decided against walking anymore. Anyway, yesterday marked the first time I managed to visit a video store for this month and I picked up some solid movies! Tonight’s watch...
Annabelle Comes Home (2019). Family Video.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Annabelle spin offs so far. I mean, I liked them just fine, but if I’m being honest, I was underwhelmed a tad (just a tad) by the first one and thought the second, while better, wasn’t amazing. Each of them had some amazing bits, but they all just seemed to be missing something. The Conjuring movies work as well as they do because the Warrens are such good characters and I enjoy seeing their wacky adventures. It’s nice to see a loving couple in a horror movie that always believes the other no matter how crazy it gets. A lot of horror could trim so much fat if they just cut off the skeptical stuff. This one, well this one I liked.
The movie picks up right after the first Annabelle. The Warrens are there to pick up the evil doll and take it someplace safe. Before we go any further, let me explain my biggest gripe with the series. There is NO way anyone (outside of the Warrens) voluntarily gets near that doll. They explain it’s not the doll that’s possessed, a demon just kind of hangs out in it, so at its core, it’s just an ugly, scary-looking doll. With that said, it’s just unrealistic, and before you try to point out, the answer is yes. Ghosts, demons, crooked men, haunted nuns and an evil wedding dress are all way more believable that anyone owning that doll on purpose. The actual Annabelle doll in real life is actually a Raggedy Ann doll, which, in my opinion is scarier. People actually own those dolls, because it’s an actual real normal-looking doll it makes you look sideways at any doll you may own. Anyone would take one look at the Annabelle movie one and rightly say, nah, fuck that, kill it with fire.
I spent a lot longer on explaining that than I thought I would. Oh well. The Warrens take the doll home and realize a simple priest blessing won’t do the trick. Locking her inside a glass case that came from an old church seems to do the trick, and the evil is contained, for now...
Annabelle Comes Home actually follows around the Warren’s daughter Judy. Ed and Lorraine are off to investigate a case so they’re leaving Judy with a babysitter, Mary Ellen. Eventually, Mary Ellen’s friend manages to worm her way into coming over, and she’s a little pushy when it comes to the paranormal stuff, so for those of us who have watched a horror movie before, you know where this going.
But you know what? I liked this movie and I liked the characters. Judy is haunted by visions and being ostracized by her classmates after a rather unflattering article gets written about her parents. In real life, the Warrens are actual people and they were involved in the Amityville investigation. There are people that are legitimately upset with this series portraying them in a positive light because many think the couple are con artists. I don’t know about that, and frankly I don’t care, they’re good movies, and great characters and as an aside I’d love to see their actual museum some day. The reason I say all that, and what I appreciated about this movie is it asks the question, how does the public perception of the couple negatively effect a young girl just trying to fit in at school? She’s having a rough of it as her friends all decide to bail on her birthday party the same day of the article. I don’t know if she was bullied or what in real life, but having a newspaper accuse your parents of being frauds can do a lot to mess with a child’s psyche.
Back to the movie, the Warrens aren’t in it much and it’s all held together by Judy, Mary Ellen and the nosy friend Daniella and they do a great job of it. I liked these characters and I cared about what happened to them. You’re annoyed with Daniella because you know she’s going to let out the demon, but once you learn why you kind of understand it. Plus, it’s really sweet the way she interacts with Judy. It brought a big smile to my face when Judy hands her an invitation to her party and Daniella accepts it without a moment’s hesitation. When you see all the stuff Judy is dealing with, it’s touching how Daniella treats her. I mean, the movie went out of its way to get you to be to mad at Daniella right off the bat, but she gets redeemed pretty quick in the best way possible. Plus, there’s also Mary Ellen’s boyfriend Bob, he’s not in it much, but his smiley “aww shucks” demeanor surprisingly fits in pretty well.
Because almost the entire thing takes place in the Warren’s home and their museum, there’s a lot of things to play with. Almost all of the things in that room get a moment to shine and some of it is really cool. I’m going to be honest, there’s a scene after everyone knows what’s going on and Judy asks Daniella, “What did you and touch?”
And she responds with a terrified, “... Everything.” That delivery from the two of them made me shiver. My favorite bit involved a weird TV that would show you like 30 seconds into the future. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it’s best to just experience that for yourself, but it was easily the most tense scene in the movie.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of different ghosts, haunted artifacts and cursed objects, and the movie puts them to great use, there are some genuinely frightening moments, and although I had to watch this in the afternoon, it’s still damn scary. The cynic in me is worried it’s going to follow the formula I talked about in The Nun. It was hard for me to watch and not think, hmm, I wonder when this artifact is going to get it own movie. There’s a bunch of different antagonists that can used from this movie, and I’m predicting at least two of them.
I really liked this movie and the Conjuring universe is moving up on my list of favorite horror franchises. Annabelle is one of those rare series where each movie is better than the last one, which is nice because I really don’t see them stopping after this one. I guess I have a soft spot for the series because it’s one of the few mainstream Hollywood movies that puts Catholicism and religion in general in a positive light. Plus, the movie introduced something new to the franchise when it included the ghost of a priest. I don’t know if, or how they’ll use the idea in the future, but it could open up interesting stories to tell, not necessarily of him, but what he was. Makes sense? No? Good. Watch the movie to find out!
8.5 Dr. Chainsaws!