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Film Reviews
Annabelle Comes Home
| Monday, 06.24.2019, 02:16 AM |   (8829 views)


Katie Sarife in Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

If you’ve seen either of the previous two Annabelle films, 2014’s Annabelle or 2017’s Annabelle: Creation, you’re probably already locked and loaded in anticipation of the third installment, Annabelle Comes Home, the latest entry in the Conjuring movie franchise universe.

To date, the Conjuring universe consists of the three Annabelle films, a pair of Nun films - one still-to-be-released - and the trio of Conjuring films.  Most of these films are based on the real-life experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren, ghost hunters, demonologists and founders of NESPA, the New England Society for Psychic Research.  Which, BTW, is a real thing.

Now, if you’ve seen any of these scream-inducing features, the fact that they’re reality-based should keep you up at night.  I have partaken of most of the Conjuring universe, except for one of the side stories, The Curse of La Llorona, which was released just prior to Comes Home.

And if you’re unsure of where the third film starring the demon-infested doll who aches to possess your soul while tittering “miss me?” falls chronologically, Creation is the prequel to 2014 AnnabelleComes Home is the sequel to 2014 Annabelle, but the action within Home falls between the two Conjuring films.  Which explains why Patrick Wilson, reprising his role as Ed Warren, and Vera Farmiga, stepping again into Lorraine’s shoes, are only seen at the beginning and end of Comes Home.

I went without a hand to grab for Comes Home, so, admittedly, I kept my eye on the corner of the screen for some of the anticipated gasps of horror.  Yes, I can be a wimp.  But I could tell by the shrieks from the audience, followed by nervous laughter, that Comes Home has multiple shocks that will successfully jolt you into your partner’s lap.

Vera Farmiga in Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
As Lorraine tells us, Annabelle herself isn’t haunted; instead, the doll acts as a conduit for all the malevolence in the universe.  If there are evil-intentioned ghosts lurking nearby, Annabelle provides the doorway from their world into our own.  While transporting the bedraggled doll home, to contain her within the walls of a special glass case blessed by a priest, the Warrens come upon a deadly car accident.  

Lorraine, with her psychic abilities on full alert, spies the spirit of one of the accident victims lurking about.  Soon after, when forced to detour around the fatal wreck, the Warrens car mysteriously falls dead right outside the fog-enshrouded gates of the Maryville Cemetery.

The spirits of the buried dead begin to appear en masse, including the newly dead accident victim, who takes a seat next to Annabelle, in the rear of the Warren’s vehicle.   In this early scene, Ed narrowly escapes with his life, setting the stage for the horror that Annabelle will soon bring to the Warren home. 

Madison Iseman in Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Ed and Lorraine are quickly removed from the film, ostensibly out on one of their ghost-hunting journeys, which we know now as The Conjuring.  That leaves most of the ghostly activity within Comes Home to be experienced by three teens and Judy, the Warren’s daughter.  Director Gary Dauberman, who penned the previous Annabelle films, has his hands full with this quartet.  

Teen one, Mary Ellen, the sweet, asthmatic, favorite cake-baking babysitter of the Warren family, is played by Madison Iseman.  Teen two, best friend Katie Sarife’s Daniella, is the film’s Pandora, opening locks, riffling private files, and generally getting sucked into a whole world of terror.  Teen three, guitar-serenading, wolfman-battling Bob, is played by Michael Cimino.  His character provides much of the necessary tension-releasing humor in the film. 

Mckenna Grace in Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Young daughter Judy Warren, with McKenna Grace in the role, has inherited many of her mom’s psychic abilities.  Though she admits to being curious to a fault regarding her parent’s profession, she is seen as a pariah at school because of them.  However sad that makes her, she’s astute enough to keep out of a triple-locked vault. And once Daniella’s rampant curiosity sets the spirits free, Judy shows us that she is tough, brave and determined to not let any of the escaped evil get the better of her. 

You may wonder what evil objects inhabit that vault.  Well, they include a clock that runs backwards, a television that shows your immediate future, a haunted piano and the requisite cymbal-playing chimp.  The haunts include ones you may have heard of in stories past, including the Ferryman, the Bride and the Warlord. All these things, and more, come deliciously alive once Annabelle is released from her locked case. 

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
As a side note, and to place Comes Home in an historical context, a real-life horror is taking place in the world outside the Warren’s home.  We’re treated to a glimpse of the Watergate hearings, where the quest for limitless political power corrupted the hallways of our nation for many months.  Perhaps, therefore, the message that Comes Home leaves us with is this: true evil may be contained for a time, but never completely extinguished.  There will always be a Pandora, desiring to unleash all manner of evil upon our world.

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor for In Focus Magazine.  She's a News Editor at WESH2 in Orlando, an NBC Affiliate. She was formerly with WKMG6 for 14 years as a News Editor. She spent nine years in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and MTV Networks. She also worked as an on-air host for local cable access programs. Lisa has covered the Florida Film Festival for the past 28 years as well as the World Peace Film Festival. She's written stories for online publications including Lady Freethinker, and She has been a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and now for In Focus Magazine.  Lisa Blanck can be reached at: [email protected]


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