When it comes to jump scares that totally freak us out we can always count on the ever dependable creepy doll named Annabelle to deliver them. And now this totem of evil is about to bring its horrors to the very homes of Ed and Lorraine Warren in Annabelle Comes Home.
Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artefacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target – the Warren’s ten-year-old daughter, and her babysitters (Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife).
Taking on the evils of Annabelle Comes Home is director Gary Dauberman and he really brings the scares with this one. A veteran of The Conjuring Universe having written Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun, along with the adaptation of the critically lauded It, Dauberman knows what makes a good horror movie, and he absolutely delivers the goods here. The scares stack up quickly as Dauberman jumps into the horror fast, but the filmmaker also takes the time to really build out this new residential world that the Warren’s call home, along with looking at just how their work affects the real world around them. As an exercise in horror, Annabelle Comes Home really works with its crazy amount of scares, and Dauberman takes his time to set up all the thrills that follow the Warren’s here.
Annabelle Comes Home is what I would best describe as a siege movie. Set within the comfortable residence that Ed, Lorraine and their ten-year-old daughter Judy call home, you find this great sense of dread as a homely, safe place literally turns into a haunted house as the case files and haunted collectables of the Warren’s are brought to life by Annabelle’s malevolence. This environment is what really delivers the scares of Annabelle Comes Home straight to the audience as Judy and her two babysitters literally have nowhere to go or to escape to and so the paranoia and intensity only continues to ramp up. With plenty of foreboding shadows and claustrophobic hallways, the Warren’s usually warm home turns into a living, breathing nightmare.
There are plenty of differences in Annabelle Comes Home, one of the most massive is that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga appear in very minor appearances throughout the film, and instead, the film focuses on how their work affects their 10-year-old daughter Judy who is played by the brilliant McKenna Grace. Grace gives an amazing performance as Judy, this almost lost child, who while extremely close to her parents is treated by everyone else around her like some kind of pariah-like freak because of her parents work. There’s an internal pain to Judy which is fed upon by Annabelle’s evil spirit, and the doll has a very creepy desire for Judy’s soul. Standing next to Grace are Madison Iseman as Mary Ellen and Katie Sarife as Daniela Rios, Judy’s babysitters who get more than they bargained for through Daniela’s actions which set off a night of absolute terror.
Part of the horror of Annabelle Comes Home is derived from the idea of innocence facing off against evil. As her parents have left the house to follow up on a new case, it’s up to Judy, Mary Ellen and Daniela to try and put Annabelle back in her cage. This idea of innocence left alone to deal with absolute horror really hits you on a psychological level, and the idea that the Warren’s will not be able to save their own child really gets under your skin. The film is an absolute rollercoaster of horror, and if I had to choose a definitive part of the film that scared the hell out of me then it would definitely be The Ferryman, who has a taste to possess Mary Ellen’s soul. Jump scares also abound here, and there are plenty of moments where you’ll shriek out in terror….trust us on that.
Annabelle Comes Home delivers plenty of scares that will definitely appeal to longtime horror fans and director Gary Dauberman really takes The Conjuring franchise to the next level here. Also, maybe look at investing in a night light, because this haunting will definitely creep into your nightmares.
Image: Roadshow Films