*“Annabelle Comes Home” passes the test. She still spooks not only her onscreen subjects, but a bloodthirsty audience wanting to see the evil Annabelle eviscerate the babysitter’s best friend, Daniella (Katie Sarofe). There were quite a few involuntary jumps in the theater I was in that were triggered by scenes in the film.
“Annabelle” is a slow burn. It utilizes the formula of old classics that set a steady pace and builds to a climax. “Annabelle” a break from the usual booming, blockbuster summer films that rely on CGI and high-octane action. It also has the appeal of being based on the fact that the movie is the story of the real-life Catholic, demon-hunting paranormal investigative couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
What’s unique about “Annabelle Comes Home” is that Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) leave their adorable daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), in the care of babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). They have to go out of town on family business. Suffice to say, the story is now built around Judy, with very few appearances by her parents. Judy is also bullied in school, which plays into current narratives of mean spirited living monsters.
Scary comes in when Daniella visits Mary Ellen, hoping to reconnect with her dead dad. In the Warrens’ house, they have a room with all the cursed artifacts accumulated over the years, including the deadly Annabelle, encased in Chapel glass from the Trinity Church. When Daniella finds the key to the room, all hell breaks loose.
Written and directed by Gary Dauberman, “Annabelle Comes Home,” stands alone although it’s the third installment of “Annabelle” films starring the infamous sinister doll from the “Conjuring” universe.
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