The Conjuring universe is one of many ups and downs. We've had our fair share of excellent entries in the franchise, from the two Conjuring movies to the surprisingly creepy Annabelle Creation, but there's more misses than hits. Creator James Wan had a lot on his plate after the breakthrough success of The Conjuring, and without him steering the ship, the expanded universe was left up to other directors to take charge. Annabelle Comes Home, in particular, sees Gary Dauberman, the writer of the previous Annabelle films, finally take the director's seat. While nobody can arguably aspire to reach the prowess of Wan's directorial sleight of hand, Dauberman tries his best with Annabelle Comes Home - though hits plenty of missteps trying to execute its effectively terrifying premise.
Annabelle Comes Home, unlike the previous two Annabelle films, isn't a prequel but rather a direct sequel to The Conjuring 2. Ed and Lorraine Warren, played once again by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively, return to the fray, if only for a few memorable moments. After sealing the infamous Annabelle doll in their occult museum full of demonic conduits, the Warrens decide to take a vacation (you know, a hard-earned break from hunting nuns and witches), leaving their daughter alone at home with a couple of babysitters. One of the babysitters, through morbid curiosity, decides to unleash Annabelle from her captive glass cabinet, and thus plenty of horror antics ensue.
After the excellent Annabelle Creation, I was hoping that Annabelle Comes Home could capture that same lightning in a bottle. Make no mistake, the potential was there: a single night where all of the Warrens cases come to life to terrorize a few silly kids? Sounds like everything that an R-rated Goosebumps could be. Unfortunately, the film fumbles in trying to execute its premise convincingly, for the most part, though does present an old-fashioned haunted house flick. If it were any other film, it may have gotten away with it, but being the most terrifying event to happen in the entire Conjuring universe - complete with its assortment of terrifying demons and monsters in the Warren catalog - it left much to be desired.
The film does take a few of the right pages from James Wan's book of directing. Dauberman knows how to craft some effectively tense and suspenseful scenes, but the pay-off falls flat sometimes. I may bring it up a few times throughout this review, but it doesn't live up to its awesome potential. What could've easily occupied an entire third film for The Conjuring is instead watered down to what essentially feels like filler in the grand scheme of things - a rest point while we wait for the superior The Conjuring 3.
What could've easily occupied an entire third film for The Conjuring is instead watered down to what essentially feels like filler...
There's an attempt to make it seem bigger than it actually is (and for all intents and purposes, it really should've been)...
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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26 June 2019
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