Film Review: ANNABELLA COMES HOME (USA 2019)

Annabelle Comes Home Poster
Trailer

While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

Director:

Gary Dauberman

Writers:

James Wan (story by), Gary Dauberman

There is one rule in the horror book that should never be broken.  There must be deaths.  In ANABELLE COMES HOME, no one dies.  The rule is broken in one of the worst horror films or films in general to open in 2019.  It is senseless, overlong, boring and downright silly.

ANNABELLE COMES HOME is the third instalment of the ANNABELLE  franchise, a spin off fro the Conjuring movies.  The first was terrible, the second not bad and this one back to terrible.  It is the second film with the theme of a demon doll to open this month after last week’s more fun CHILD’S PLAY.  Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) the main character of the film is clear to point out the difference.  Annabelle is not a doll that is possessed, but a portal through which demons can enter the human world.  He also claims that possession can only take place in living things therefore putting CHILD’S PLAY down.  To add on: “Isabelle is the devil.”

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine Warren Vera Farminga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing.  But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target—the Warrens’ ten-year old daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), and her friends, babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and Daniela (Katie Sarife), the troubled one guilt ridden of having killed her father in a car accident.

Director Gary Fauberman directs from the script (if one can call it that) he co-wrote with James Wan.  The film begins with Ed and Lorraine Warren who bring the audience to date of the doll and how they lock it up safely.  The couple has three scenes – the locking of the doll, the stranded car and the end.  Other than that, they disappear for the rest of the film.

The film has the typical scares found in a horror film like sudden appearance of objects or loud sounds (telephone ringing) and other assorted false alarms.  These go on throughout the entire film regardless of where the story is leading, escalating to a meaningless climax.  Too much of the same thing leads to monotony which is exactly what happens in this otherwise extremely slow paced film.

To Dauberman’s credit, his time lapse mirror segment is worth mentioning.  In it, the girl glares at her reflection in the mirror.  The reflection in the mirror occurs a few seconds in the future.  For example, she sees a falling in he mirror just before it actually falls.  Though this has noting to do whatsoever with the plot, it is quite the creepy and inventive device.

Forget the ANNABELLE and CONJURING franchise.  It is time to have the series locked up for they do no-one any good.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCxm7cTpBAs

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Film Review: ANNABELLE: CREATION

 ANNABELLE CREATION.jpgSeveral years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Stars: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 The ANNABELLE, CONJURING prequels, sequels are already so many that it is difficult to keep track what is going on. The truth is, it does not real matter. ANNABELLE CREATION is advertised as the prequel to ANNABELLE which is connected to the four CONJURING films. ANNABELLE CREATION can stand on its own, that is all that matters. The connecting object in all the film is the possessed white Annabelle doll.

The film suffers from a weak narrative. The simple story involves a couple losing their daughter in an accident. They allow orphans to make use of their big home but the spirit of their dead daughter who possesses a doll is not happy with the orphans. On the plus side, the scary set-ups are meticulously crafted, which should provide horror fans lots of jump out of the seat scares. But it does matter that the film is less the sum of its whole, as it does not hold well together at all. It also suffers from a proper ending with the doll appearing halfway through the closing credits for no real reason. One member of the audiences remarked that she expected the doll to at least blink. Still, all these bad continuity segments do not add up cohesively. One moment one member of the orphans is chased by the killer doll, the next has the film intercutting to another in trouble. Why the demon does not kill off the parents earlier on before the arrival of the orphans is also a point to question. And when the demon finally gets the soul of the crippled Janice, why doesn’t the demon stay satisfied. Of course, logic is never a strong point in horror films as in this one.

The film assembles a series of shock effects, false alarms and real ones. False alarms include for example, the father, Samuel Mullins suddenly scaring his daughter or the sudden appearance of a character and a real scare being the running over of a child by a car. The other scary effects like the moving doll, the repeated playing of the song: “You are my Sunshine” et al. are all old stuff already done in other horror films. But director Sandberg seems to have picked the best of these from past movies and included them here. But one horror set-up after another still gets monotonous after a while.

The orphans are played by a cast of relative unknowns cutting production costs for the film. However, Samuel Mullins and wife Esther are played by well-known Australian actors Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto.

The first ANNABELLE film cost $6.5 million to make and grossed Warner Brothers close to $256 million. This sequel cost double to make at around $15 million, but should make the studio a handsome bundle, aided by the fact that the only main big opening this weekend is the animated NUT JOB sequel.

People love to be scared. People love to pay big bucks to be scared. Films like ANNABELLE CREATION will always do well at the box-office despite reviews good or bad, so go figure!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisPhy7T__Q

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