Annabelle Comes Home Review

Annabelle Comes Home
When paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of babysitter Mary (Madison Iseman), it’s not long before reckless teen Daniela (Katie Sarife) comes along and unwittingly unleashes the Annabelle doll — along with a bunch of other malicious spirits.

by Ben Travis |
Published on
Release Date:

28 Jun 2019

Original Title:

Annabelle Comes Home

Annabelle Comes Home is gifted with what might be the ultimate haunted house set-up. Having fully established the dead-eyed Annabelle doll as a toy not to be messed with in the Conjuring franchise, and the two previous Annabelle spin-offs, it’s a neat idea to then set it loose in the spooky artefact-laden home of the franchise’s veteran paranormalists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Chuck in the well-worn ‘baby babysitter’ trope, and Annabelle Comes Home should be a Friday night funhouse blast.

Annabelle Comes Home

Sadly, after the well-crafted scares of David F. Sandberg’s Annabelle: Creation, this threequel never capitalises on that killer concept. It starts well enough, with a prologue centred around Wilson and Farmiga’s Warrens — they’re the much-needed heart of the Conjuring-verse, and their warm, lived-in dynamic never fails to connect. But from there, the film has to deliver a whole extra set-up to get to the main plot — that their daughter, Judy (Grace), is being left in the care of goody two-shoes babysitter Mary (Iseman) for a few days, when Annabelle will once again cause havoc thanks to the meddling of Mary’s anarchic pal, Daniela (Sarife).

Sluggishly paced and lacking in inspiration

If it takes too long to get going, Annabelle Comes Home also never quite kicks into full gear — it’s a film content to roll out every cliché one by one, without twisting them into something new and fun. The doll itself takes a back seat for much of the runtime, instead compelling other spirits to terrorise the teen trio — from killer brides and creepy priests, to the more effective folklore-inspired Ferryman, who feels most likely to get his own spin-off. More laughably, there’s the ‘Hellhound of Essex’ — who not only feels incongruous but stretches the budget beyond its capabilities.

It’s not completely without merit. The introduction of what’s-in-the-box boardgame Feeley Meeley leans successfully into the film’s spooky sleepover vibe, the performances are fine enough, and it deals out some welcome in-camera frights. But the characters are painfully slow on the uptake, considering they’re in such an overt horror-movie scenario, and the confused machinations that set Annabelle loose leave Sarife’s character both largely unlikeable and woefully inconsistent. Sluggishly paced and lacking in inspiration, Annabelle Comes Home proves that this doll works best when the filmmakers are willing to really play with it

Lacking the style and scares of the better Conjuring movies, Annabelle Comes Home plays its tantalising spookhouse concept a little slow and far too straight.
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