Annabelle Comes Home Movie Review
There is some Annabelle in this Annabelle movie? Two-thirds through Annabelle Comes Home, the shockingly un-shocking horror movie by Gary Dauberman, I came to realize that the filmmaker had all but abandoned the creepy doll at the center of The Conjuring universe. Another realization: this movie houses some of the dumbest characters you’ll ever see in a horror movie.
And that’s saying something.
Katie Sarife gets tasked with playing Daniela Rios, a character so idiotic that early on you actively cheer for her to die. Singlehandedly responsible for unleashing the Annabelle demon and countless other evils by ignoring every warning sign there is—including literal warning signs—Daniela is the true evil force in the movie, an inanely written role who causes your eyes to roll instead of making your skin shiver.
There’s a scene in which Daniela, after being tormented by various un-scary things-that-go-bump-in-the-dark, gets stabbed in the stomach—a seemingly satisfying end to her awful character. Unfortunately, Dauberman, who also wrote the film, is just toying with emotions—the scene is a fake, a vision, an empty shell that is emblematic of the larger picture.
Annabelle Comes Home is a stunningly flat horror movie, a film without scares, tension, or any real sense of terror or supernatural dread. Dauberman wrote the previous two Annabelle movies, along with both It remakes, but it’s the first time he’s directed something. Sadly, he’s no James Wan.
The Conjuring movies and their ilk, at least up until recently (including the terrible The Nun, also written by Dauberman), have been a relatively consistent batch of productions that rely on elaborate setup, patient scene-building, and some truly terrifying moments built around producer Wan’s keen eye for scaring audiences, and perhaps more importantly, getting audiences to scare themselves.
Annabelle Comes Home is a disaster, and not a fun one. The movie begins with the return of the Warrens (Vera Farminga and Patrick Wilson), only with them to be written out of much of the story. The decision to focus on their child (Mckenna Grace) and her two babysitters (Sarife and Madison Iseman)—within the Warrens’ house, where they store all of their demonic and possessed artifacts—is not a terrible one but somewhat uninspired. The screenplay is blandly written, but more importantly the movie simply isn’t scary; Dauberman fails to build suspense, relying on cheap flashes of creepy monsters that don’t even qualify as “jump scares.” Dauberman loses sight of using the Annabelle doll to any real effect—she’s barely in it—but his introduction to other creatures largely fall flat.
Between bad writing, stupid characters, and boring horror clichés, Annabelle Comes Home is a generic and forgettable horror movie that marks a further decline of The Conjuring franchise.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.