Annabelle Comes Home
Annabelle Comes Home is one of the very best Conjuring Universe installments. Gary Dauberman's directing brings the atmosphere and scares, while the cast delivers likable and reliable performances that makes for the best Annabelle movie to date.
Director Gary Dauberman course-corrects the extended Conjuring Universe with Annabelle Comes Home, the best non-Conjuring movie in the series so far, not to mention the best Annabelle film. Dauberman’s writing/directing combo makes good use of the setting and cast, delivering jolting scares and surprisingly likable characters, led by McKenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife and rounded out by the always-great Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
Annabelle Comes Home takes place shortly after The Conjuring, but before The Conjuring 2, planting it firmly in the middle of the Conjuring Universe, which leaves us with both familiar and new characters.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson‘s The Warrens introduce the film and close it out, but mostly sit back to let the new cast steal the screen and for once in a horror movie — they definitely do.
One of my biggest problems with some of the other Conjuring Universe films (and horror movies in general) are unlikable characters, acted by no-names with limited range.
Luckily for us, Annabelle Comes Home features two strong characters, led by McKenna Grace and Madison Iseman. Both actresses give us characters that are naturally interesting and worth following through the house of horrors. To a lesser extent, Katie Sarife also gives us performance worth watching, even if her character initially starts out the film as one of those dumb and barely watchable leads. There’s a reason for this and while it’s no surprise, it does redeem her early mistakes.
It’s also always engaging watching Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson show up. They don’t stick around for long, but they give the film a shot of credibility that’s not needed, but welcomed.
Director and writer Gary Dauberman has been behind the previous installments, but only in a writing capacity. Perhaps his jump to director is what this series needed to really give it some grounds or perhaps he just got lucky with a solid script and schedule availability of Farmiga/Wilson? Either way, Dauberman’s efforts in Annabelle Comes Home do not go by unnoticed.
He’s no James Wan when it comes to setting up scares in almost perfect fashion, but he manages to come close on several occasions. Annabelle Comes Home gives us a deeper look at some of those interesting characters and creatures locked up in the famous room, while also furthering the story of Annabelle, even though this film feels more like an Annabelle and Friends installment when compared to the previous two films.
I’d almost classify this one as a Conjuring 2.5, a sort of buffer that centers on one specific character, but isn’t afraid to shed some light on other mysterious ones. The inclusion of Farmiga and Wilson help back up that theory and feel.
Annabelle Comes Home is a scary good time at the theaters, reminding us that there’s lots of miles left in the ol’ Conjuring Universe tank, if handled properly. Its characters help give the thrills even more weight, which makes for an easy way to kill a few hours on demonic dolls and possessed wedding dresses.