So ANNABELLE COMES HOME is the 7th film in The Conjuring Universe if you count The Curse Of La Llorona, right? Which I do, and if you don’t, and haven’t seen it yet, I suggest that you do as there is hard evidence of why it is considered part of this film series. And La Llorona, while not being that terrible, was still a big disappointment, trying too hard with cheap cliched jump scares that didn’t have any context or set up. Thankfully, the third Annabelle more than makes up for that stumble in the franchise road. Not only are the scares and frights earned, and not only are they all foreshadowed and set up meticulously, but all of the scares subvert your expectations. You think the spookiness is about to go down….here it comes….but then it doesn’t……but then much later it gets you when you least expect it! And the film is entertaining as hell too, a little fun house of horrors movie that is much better than they ones we’ve received over the past decade. And mark this down as the best Annabelle film so far too. So with the Conjuring Universe we are 4 for 7, and that ain’t bad.
But is this a perfect reverse trilogy you may ask? No, unfortunately it just misses that mark due to the first Annabelle film being the worst film of not only the three just pertaining to that doll, but the worst one of the whole Conjuring Universe. A perfect reverse trilogy is where all three films are somehow excellent and each one is better than the last. In this case it is just a reverse trilogy. The set up for this film is simple, at the beginning we finally get to see the Warren’s take custody of the doll from the two teenagers we were introduced to in the first Conjuring movie. One year later, they get a baby sitter (Madison Iseman) to look after their daughter (McKenna Grace) one night as they go to investigate another case. The baby sitters friend comes over (Katie Sarife) with secret intentions of her own and winds up in the Warren’s room filled with evil and haunted artifacts, and of course, let’s Annabelle out of her case. Let the fun begin!
And the movie is a boatload of fun. As you may now no Annabelle isn’t like Chucky or any of the little bastards from the Puppet Master franchise. She doesn’t talk, say one liners, or come after people with a knife (no matter how much I wanted her to). She is a conduit for other spirits, ghosts, demons, and evil entities to come out to try and get your soul. She does move around, but is more whisked to where she wants to go by unseen entities. So what is so cool about this movie is that it is less about her going around and killing people and collecting souls and more about her bringing other tales and folklore to life to do the bidding for her. I don’t want to spoil any of what those evil entities are, but I will say that after the movie was over, I was clamoring for a Conjuring Universe Hellhound movie. God I hope they end up making one.
And while the set up is simple, the writing here is definitely not lazy. While the Warrens are more of an extended cameo type appearance and just book end the film, it’s the three female protagonists that have to carry the movie. Each of them has their own arc to flesh them all out, the best one being the friend that comes over played by Katie Sarife. If the movie was just them running around the now haunted home and doll, while it would’ve probably still been fun, the movie definitely wouldn’t have been as effective narrative wise without the arcs. And the acting is top notch too. McKenna Grace, while still very young, proves she needs to be in more things to stretch her talent. Madison Iseman shows another side of her than just the bratty teenager in her brief appearance in Jumanji 2. But the stand out is Katie Sarife as the friend. The film mainly focuses on her and her story, and she acts the hell out of the situations she is put into. Very much looking forward to her acting career in the near future.
If you are a Conjuring Universe Aficionado, this is absolutely a must watch, as it is definitely the most entertaining and fun entry of the entire film franchise. The other universe films are, while still being somewhat entertaining and watchable, are more filled with darkness, dread, and despair, and not being what you’d call ‘fun.’ Emotionally draining is the correct term. Writer Gary Dauberman, this being his directorial debut as well, wrote all of the Annabelle films, and I can confidently say that he learned his lesson from the terrible first film, and is honing his craft. And it makes me look forward to IT Chapter 2, which he also wrote that comes out in just a few months. Annabelle Comes Home was a fantastic fun house of horrors film. Very solid, and one of the Conjuring Universe films I will probably end up revisiting over and over again.
My ranking of Conjuring Universe Films
- The Conjuring
- The Conjuring 2
- Annabelle Comes Home
- Annabelle Creation
- The Curse Of La Llorona
- The Nun