With the quality of horror films slipping notches below expected standards, director Gary Dauberman’s ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ seems like a welcome change, despite not offering any path breaking moments.
The film begins with a prologue on how the married paranormal investigators, Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) brought home the possessed Annabelle doll and lock her in a glass case in the artifacts room of their suburban Connecticut home.
Years later, the Warrens plan an overnight trip. So, they leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of a teenage babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). During a visit to the local store, they meet Daniela, Mary Ellen’s friend who is suspicious and curious about the Warrens’ ghost-busting profession and she unexpectedly joins the duo back home.
In fact she is really pursuing her own agenda. Still grieving over the loss of her father in a traffic accident, Daniela comes to the Warrens house with the hope of reconnecting with her dead father. She stealthily sneaks into the artifacts room and after stumbling upon the doll, Annabelle, she unlocks the glass case and subsequently the doll goes missing. This sets the ball rolling for a series of unwarranted horror action sequences that take place within the Warrens’ maze-like home.
With atmospheric visuals, there are ample eerie moments in this insular chamber-piece drama that make you jump out of your skin. The creaky doors, the flash in the pan apparitions, the sudden attack by the spirits, the horror effects are aplenty. But then, with so many earlier films of this genre, every action, reaction and fright sequences appear repetitive or give you a feeling of déjà vu.
After the interval, you wonder, like the bewildered Daniela says, “What’s happening?” With light and sound effects, the narrative proceeds to deliver scary moments, in silos, one after another in a very mundane and perfunctory manner. The entire one-day proceedings appear stretched, superficial and hollow. And the tale wraps up in a muffled and inconspicuous manner.
Overall, ‘Annabelle Comes Home’, is an all fluff, moody film that one can enjoy on a leisurely afternoon if you have nothing better to do.