Review: “Annabelle Comes Home”

“Daddy?”

Story: Creepy ass dolls are bad news. Everyone should know this by now. But when a friend of the Warrens’ babysitter decides to open the locked glass box Annabelle is in, well. Yeah. It says “Positively Do Not Open” for a reason, sweetie.

Genre I’d put it in: Enjoyable horror sequels

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Movie #3 of the Annabelle series, part of the Conjuring universe. (Or as I like to call it, the James Wan-na-verse.)

Gotta say: For a third film in a series, getting any kind of fun out of the story is a jaw-dropping feat. There are very few horror sequels that have the staying power – or the storyline juice – to go for more than a single sequel. But Home gets the job done and then some. There’s lots of fun creep to be had, along with all the usual “teen does stupid crap” scenes everyone loves to talk back to. Yet screenwriter Gary Dauberman takes Wan’s basic premise and adds in some deeper dives into characters that makes this a gotta-see for horrorhounds. As for the Conjuring universe as a whole? I’m calling it; there’ll be at least two more spin-off series in this Wannaverse. That bride, and the Ferryman. And gotta admit, I’m looking forward to ’em. Fingers crossed for a Hellhound story too. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the show.

Fans of this series will be glad to see story favorites Samara Lee as Bee/Annabelle, Mckenna Grace as Judy Warren, and of course Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren. Don’t expect too much screentime for Ed & Lorraine though; they’re just onscreen long enough to get the babysitter (Madison Iseman’s Mary Ellen) situated, and to wrap things up at the end. The cast works well together, and everyone digs into the spooky shenanigans wholeheartedly. Special shout-out to Michael Cimino as Mary Ellen’s crush Bob, for going above and beyond as the boy-next door. Plus, Bob’s got the best nickname ever.

Gotta admit that after seeing the first Annabelle film, I wasn’t keen on more in this series. But Annabelle: Creation was better than the first, and now Home is even better. I’d say leave this series at three, but we know that horror franchises won’t stop ’til the horse is beyond dead, so I’m sure there’ll be more. Just keep the spot-on 70s set design firmly in place, willya? I’m loving all the mustard, avocado and brown. Seriously; it’s taking me back to when I was Judy Warren’s age, and I’m howling with bittersweet joy over every little tidbit. (Note: I had that nightgown. No lie.)

Add some Badfinger to the mix, and some brand new haunts? You’ve got yourself one groovy film, baby. Just don’t go playing Feely Meely. Trust me on this.

Grade: B+

#Protip: FEELY MEELY IS A REAL GAME AND I’M AVOIDING IT LIKE THE PLAGUE

 

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