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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: "Annabelle Comes Home" good for simple scares

Jun 27, 2019 07:58PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Vera Farmiga in Annabelle Comes Home - © 2019 Warner Bros.

Annabelle Comes Home (Warner Bros.)

Rated R for horror violence and terror.

Starring Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Michael Cimino, Paul Dean, Steve Coulter, Luca Luhan, Stephen Blackehart, Samara Lee, Natalia Safran, Alexander Ward.

Written by Gary Dauberman and James Wan.

Directed by Gary Dauberman.



When you know the jump scare is coming, is it scarier than it would have been if you didn’t see it coming? That is my personal conundrum with horror movies, most of which seem to be cut from the same cloth these days. Adding to the clichés is the new “Conjuring Cinematic Universe,” (CCU) based on the real-life “paranormal investigators” Lorraine and Ed Warren (most of their demonology stories have been debunked as hoaxes, but this is Hollywood). The latest installment in the series is Annabelle Comes Home, in theaters this week.

Set in the early 1970s, the story centers around the Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, reprising their roles from previous films in the series) and their home in Connecticut, where they store all kinds of items believed to possess some kind of demonic association, including a creepy doll named Annabelle, a toy with the power to summon the dead. When the Warrens leave town for the weekend, they leave their daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) in the capable hands of babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s best friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) invites herself over to the home, since she has an extreme interest in communing with her father who was killed in a car crash and hopes to use the Warren’s other-worldly items to accomplish it. Daniela breaks into the basement and touches just about every single “possessed” item, setting off a mass conjuring that threatens the girls’ lives. Things are complicated further when Mary Ellen’s teen crush Bob (Michael Cimino) shows up just in time to encounter some of the demonic creatures attacking the home. Chaos ensues, and the girls must summon all their courage and intuition to defeat the forces of evil and get Annabelle back into a glass case in the basement that has to the power to contain her.

Annabelle Comes Home is a sufficient thriller with all the jump scares and creepy foreboding you’d expect in a movie about demonic stuff. The “lost weekend” story is not that complicated, leading to a rather predictable conclusion. There isn’t much more to it than that; a movie designed to startle susceptible audiences, and then move on.

If that’s your thing, then Annabelle Comes Home is the just right ticket. I was not very thrilled, fully aware of all the cues that lead up to a jump scare, including musical identifiers (or lack of music), blind turns and quick pans of the camera. The performances of the main characters were more than adequate, and offered a little cohesive chemistry, albeit fleeting for such a simple story. I don’t think Annabelle Comes Home will hurt the CCU, but it won’t stand out among the other films in the series, either.

"Annabelle Comes Home" Trailer