I thought Annabelle: Comes Home was a very intense horror film. If I wasn’t frightened all the way through, I would have further appreciated the cinematography’s attention to detail. I think this might be the franchise’s best horror film to date, and other aspiring filmmakers in the genre could really take a page from this movie. While I get scared easily from horror films, I would definitely watch it again, albeit not for a while.
For those unfamiliar with the previous films, Annabelle centers around a porcelain doll that doubles as a beacon for evil spirits. Annabelle was a little girl who passed away because of a car accident in the early 1900s, with her spirit attaching to the doll made in her remembrance. This consequentially opened the door for all evil spirits to come and bring evil to the world via inhabiting the doll. Annabelle Comes Home thus showcases just how powerful and evil this doll really is.
Annabelle Comes Home is about a possessed doll who awakens evil spirits in a artifact room after being let out of a “box”. After being taken by Ed and Lorraine Warren, Annabelle was secured inside a glass case where she was contained, only for a guilt-ridden teenage girl to let her out. Annabelle then causes chaos through out the night while the Warrens aren’t home, leaving only their daughter, her baby sitter and her friend. Annabelle then proceeds to engage in a battle of withs between the possessed doll and a little 10 year-old girl who fights the unholy terror that’s been unleashed.
Annabelle features a lot of great moments thanks in part to its amazing camerawork, making me wish I could one day work with the film’s grip department. The movie unfortunately featured a lot of predictable points, such as Daniela (Katie Sarife) starting everything by letting Annabelle out of her “box” just so she could see her dad. It was also very predictable when the girls entered rooms that were making loud noises, but I am sure if they didn’t there wouldn’t be a movie. The fact that Daniela was doing this for selfish reasons made me feel very bad for Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), particularly because of her asthma.
There is a part in Annabelle where Annabelle herself is baiting Mary Ellen and Judy (McKenna Grace) to come and get her out of a closet. Compared to the film’s more predictable scenes, you knew something was going to happen but you just didn’t know what to expect from the outcome. Thanks to the lighting, the film sets this scene up as a ploy to split Mary Ellen and Judy up so Annabelle can get her hands on Judy. The image of Annabelle in the center of a closet filled with dead bodies, held by a corpse that looked like Mary Ellen, made it difficult for her to retrieve the haunted doll.
One of my criticisms with Annabelle Comes Homes was the visual overuse of fog. At one point Daniela was supposed to go home but she snuck back into the house because she stole some keys. For some reason, there was a lot of fog that made it impossible for her to see five feet ahead. Other scenes managed to be more effective, such as when a sleeping Judy gets scared by Annabelle showing up in her bed. She jumps and knocks down her light, looking at the floor for the doll, only to find a shadow that appears on the wall. I liked this moment because it managed to be simple and complicated at the same time, allowing you to see different characters emerge throughout the movie, only for the final figure to reveal itself as a horned demon.
The ending battle to get Annabelle back into her “box” was the film’s best scene, mostly in how the demon shadow from Judy’s room came alive. Details in the character model, particularly its pop-up, were amazing in how they managed to be scary yet cool. This feature could hopefully be elaborated on in the next film. The fight to contain the evil in such a small room was perfectly shot and I liked how Judy managed to channel her mom’s power in order to stand tall and fight back against the demon.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Annabelle Comes Home featured a lot of intense moments and, as I said before, I would gladly watch this movie again. If you get scared by horror films, you should watch this movie. It’s the perfect movie to go on a date with because you’re going to want someone to discuss it with afterwards, as well as a shoulder to lean on when the scary parts emerge.