The seventh installment in “The Conjuring” Universe and the third film in the series to be centered around the eponymous doll, “Annabelle Comes Home” opens on a promising note and paves a strong foundation for its main plot by capitalizing on the genuine warmth & comfort that both Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga bring together in their respective roles of Ed & Lorraine Warren. But once they leave the setting, it doesn’t take long for the interest to fizzle out as the film’s numerous shortcomings become more evident as the plot progresses, and the terribly written characters inhabiting it don’t help the cause either.
Set before the events of The Conjuring, the film begins with a prologue that presents Ed & Lorraine Warren confiscating & bringing the possessed Annabelle doll into their home to keep it sealed in a sacred glass case in their locked artifacts room, which is blessed by a priest to ensure that the evil remains contained. The main plot concerns their daughter Judy, who is being looked after by her babysitter one night when the couple is out investigating another case. They are soon joined by an uninvited friend who later sneaks into the forbidden room & unknowingly awakens the evil spirits, thus turning the Warren house into an unholy site of terror.
Written & directed by Gary Dauberman in what’s his directorial debut, Annabelle Comes Home features an interesting premise and the plot outline exhibits potential as well. But the execution is far from effective as the characters required more refinement & brushing up for the viewers to invest in them. People making stupid decisions in a horror film has been a staple of the genre for a long time but it will always remain a drawback no matter what. Dauberman’s efforts in setting up the frights don’t bear valuable fruit either as the scares are predictable for the most part and without any characters to root for, they don’t pack that thrilling punch.
Similar to Annabelle Comes Home – THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA  REVIEW: PREDICTABLE. FORGETTABLE. MEDIOCRE
The sole reason why this third Annabelle film was even on my radar was that the real MVPs of The Conjuring Universe i.e. Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga were supposed to be reprising their wonderfully written characters. So color me surprised when I found out that their appearance only bookends this film, and that it is nothing more than a cameo. Mckenna Grace does enough to hold her own as Judy Warren. But the remaining cast and the characters they play are entirely forgettable. Even the titular doll seems to have more personality than the rest of the cast did. There are a few creepy moments in here but the film is more fun than frightening.
Compared to Annabelle (2014), Annabelle Comes Home is certainly better. But then, anything is better than that bland, banal & boring spin-off. Annabelle: Creation was an unexpected surprise that delivered some genuinely thrilling & chilling frights, and also seemed closer in tone to James Wan’s entries in the series. The latest chapter fails to replicate that despite the availability of all the resources it required. The presence of Ed & Lorraine Warren, in the beginning, offers a false sense of assurance that it is going to be a satisfying experience. But that feeling is short-lived and is out the window once the main plot takes over. It’s definitely a fun ride if you are up for that, but don’t go in expecting The Conjuring level quality here.