Editor’s note: Spoilers ahead!
The highly anticipated movie of the summer, Annabelle Comes Home, premiered June 26 in theaters across the globe. Eager fans lined up to see the Conjuring Universe continue in this sequel, searching for a delightful fright or two.
I myself was one of those enthusiastic fans, thrilled to watch the next Annabelle chapter unfold. The notorious doll, known for moving unexpectedly, leaving cryptic notes throughout houses and terrorizing her victims had me curious (and very excited) to see what director Gary Dauberman had in store for yet another movie.
However, viewers who go to see Annabelle Comes Home in hopes of earning a good scare — perhaps good enough to lose sleep over — will find themselves surprisingly disappointed. In comparison to its predecessors, Annabelle Comes Home lacks any proper frightfulness and is in fact, pretty anticlimactic.
The continuation stars Ed and Lorraine’s young daughter Judy who we learn is similar to her mother in the sense that she can see the dead. When Ed and Lorraine leave Judy with a babysitter for the night, let’s just say that things … get a little out of control.
Babysitter Mary Ellen invites her best friend Daniella over to the Warrens’ house. Or rather, Daniella worms her way into the Warrens after a bit of pleading to wander the “house of horrors.” When left to her own devices, Daniella enters the off-limits room through a series of trial and error when searching for the keys to the room. Inside is all of the Warrens’ antiques and occult possessions — including several new characters from the Conjuring Universe, whom we learn more about as the movie progresses.
Daniella, who turns out not to be your stereotypical horror movie “troublemaker” who touches everything inside the room for the pure fun of it, turns out to have lost her father whom she is desperately trying to make contact with. In an attempt at doing so, Daniella unleashes the infamous Annabelle doll from her holy glass case, simultaneously unleashing all hell.
From there on out, every haunted artifact and cursed item that the Warrens own begins to roam the entirety of the house, victimizing Judy, Mary Ellen, and Daniella.
True fans of the Conjuring world are rewarded with the visitation of the young girl from the former Annabelle movie, Annabelle: Creation, who appears tapping at the door, looking for her beloved doll. The movie also succeeds in introducing a few new characters and storylines including The Wedding Dress and The Ferryman (now this one was quite unsettling), amongst a few others. These demons seek joy in terrorizing their respective characters throughout the movie, yearning to possess their souls. And the reason for all of this torture, you ask? Oh, you know, just Annabelle being Annabelle (considering she is a “beacon for the dead,” after all).
This movie is undeniably fun in a youthful sort of way — something that differs completely in comparison to previous Conjuring movies. Think more laughter and less scares. While each of the characters found themselves fighting for their lives in a house of literal nightmares, I couldn’t help but realize just how strangely quiet the theater was as opposed to the thrill of fear that usually hangs in the air such as when I viewed Annabelle: Creation. Despite the few jump scares, sudden thuds! and bangs! no one seemed particularly frightened — myself included. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was personally hoping to see a little more … oh, I don’t know, Annabelle? Because — where was she throughout the movie? Either she was locked inside a glass case, sitting in a rocking chair or ending up in strange places like beneath the couch and under the blankets in Judy’s bed. If anything, the movie should have been called Every Scary Thing the Warrens Own Comes to Life. Because that title pretty much sums up the entire movie.
And the answer to all of their problems, you might be wondering? Well, it’s easy. Simply place Annabelle back inside her glass case and everything is once again back to how it should be . . . which is pretty anticlimactic if you ask me. There were no exorcisms performed, no seeking desperately to rid the doll in some dramatic way as was done in the previous movies and certainly no intervention from Ed or Lorraine Warren who were only present at the start and end of the movie. Just a good old fashion put the thing back where you got it. Then the movie simply comes to a close with a happy Judy who is thrilled to have kids from her school attend her birthday party. And . . . well, that’s it really.
Despite the lack of scares and screams distributed throughout the theater, Annabelle Comes Home features a talented cast of new faces and pure, teenage-like fun.
I think it’s safe to say that the notorious Annabelle doll may have just seen the end of her days. That is unless producers choose to execute a followup movie, one that will feature a grown-up Judy who plays the same role as her mother and battles an entirely new spirit . . . perhaps one of the demons we were introduced to in the movie?
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a harmless sort of movie with minimal scares, this is the movie for you. And, if you’re a diehard fan of the Conjuring Universe, try not to go in expecting too much in terms of the horror factor. Just be happy that it Annabelle isn’t under your blanket.
Featured Image via Syfy