Inanimate objects should be harmless, right? That doesn’t seem to be true when a doll named Annabelle is around.
Released on June 26, “Annabelle Comes Home” showcased multiple malevolent scenes that could occur in just one night. With great direction, Gary Dauberman was able to produce a unique installment in the “Annabelle” series — a mix of horror and comedic relief.
A “beacon” for vehement spirits, Annabelle is a doll that kids and adults need to stay away from. Ed and Lorraine Warren stated in the film’s introduction that “Demons don’t possess things, only people,” but it seemed like wherever the creepy-faced doll went, there was a predictable omen that resulted in spectral havoc.
It was definitely surprising for the couple to survive after their car broke down late at night beside a graveyard. Adding a sinister effect, the event even occurred near a spine-chilling car accident. To diminish parallel occurrences, it seemed logical to remove Annabelle’s presence from the outside world by locking her up in a glass case and calling a priest to bless her biweekly.
Fans of “The Conjuring Universe” series knew that the Warrens’ basement is an area of profound evil. However, it is inevitable for a curious individual to be trapped in the cloud of maliciousness as he or she secretly ventures to the Warrens’ basement — in this film, the babysitter’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife).
It doesn’t seem fair for 10-year-old Judy (Mckenna Grace) to experience bullying in school. But it is quite unavoidable after her parents, Ed and Lorraine Warren, consistently made the news as demonologists. No one wanted to be friends with Judy nor desired to attend her birthday party. Nonetheless, she was fortunate enough to have a loving babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) who cared for her when her parents had an overnight trip.
The entire plot of the story accentuated the struggles of each character, especially Daniela’s internal conflict as she blamed herself for the death of her father. The biggest problem of the film, however, is the lack of sincerity and the overexaggeration of inquisitiveness as Daniela was portrayed to lack common sense in attempting to connect with her deceased father. The whole encounter with the motley of evils could have been prevented if she kindly asked the Warrens for assistance in contacting the dead.
One of the greatest disappointments of the movie is the quality of scenes it portrayed as a rated R film. With a couple of bloody scenes, this third installment in the "Annabelle" series could have been rated as PG. The entire film is similar to a typical “Goosebumps” episode from the '90s, and a few of those shows had more successful scares and well-planned narratives.
To stay away from the typical trajectory of a horror film, the director could have played around with the plot more and added more obstacles. There was a possibility to creatively utilize a massive house and the motley of props inside in order to construct more conflicting struggles — a method of diversifying the film. It may sound cliche, but I prefer a proficient script writer who methodically plans different stages that the main characters will go through in order to finish the quest. Maybe add a twist in the end or disable a character from functioning well.
The random ghouls that appeared in jump scares were quite confusing, since there wasn’t any background information provided to the viewers. When there is no character development, it is harder for viewers to connect the dots to fully understand the movie.
Despite the different aspects of the film that can be improved, I can declare that this installment is absolutely unique from the rest of “The Conjuring Universe” franchise. Other than the anticipated scary scenes, there was comedy here and there to give the audience relief. In terms of Ed and Lorraine Warren, however, I wished they were more involved in the movie, and not only in the beginning. They seemed to be minor characters in this movie, despite the fact that they were the main protagonists in previous installations.
Annabelle also seemed to lose her terrifying features in this third movie when in the first two films, it was very difficult for me to stare at the screen. It’s unfortunate how she lost the haunting effect that made her different from a generic scary-looking doll.
In addition, the sound effects were too common when they could have built suspense and created demonic effects to enhance the horror experience of the audience.
This “Annabelle” sequel failed to depict the same level of scariness that the previous installments have portrayed. Despite not quite fitting in the “Annabelle” series, this latest installment is still worth watching if you’d like to see horror with a fresh spin.