I was so psyched for this film! I remember there being some inventive scares in the first Annabelle and I loved The Nun so much that I was really looking forward to seeing what this one had to offer. Well, I’m sorry to say that while Annabelle Comes Home has a few interesting scenes that are effective, it’s pretty weak as a whole. If you’re like me and thought the trailers looked really good and like they were introducing some cool, new ideas unfortunately you’re wrong. They cut together the best few parts for the trailer and the majority of the actual film is just…. meh.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson always shine as Ed and Lorraine Warren, they not only play their individual parts well, but they also share a natural chemistry. The very little screen time they’re given is well utilized. There is one evil entity in this film that I found interesting and wish they would’ve spent more time with. There are several scenes that deal with it and they are effectively scary. Inventive visuals and well timed sound is largely to thank for those scenes working. Also, if you saw the first Annabelle from 2014 then you’ll remember the demon that was using Annabelle. There is something similar to that makes several appearances here. Those moments work just as they did in the first one. I like that both films actually pulled back the curtain and showed you what was using the doll.
The list of mistakes made here is longer and more substantial. So the first thing that I think ends up hurting this film is the absence of the Warrens. Vera and Patrick aren’t in the bulk of this and only show up for the very beginning and end. You definitely miss them, and I don’t want it to sound like the teenage actors couldn’t handle the material, but their characters aren’t nearly as interesting. It’s also very tough for a 12 or 13 year old to carry a lot of a film like McKenna Grace has to. While it’s true Grace has some good moments, she isn’t to the point she needs to be in her acting to be the main character in a film. I didn’t feel the weight I should’ve been feeling, but that’s not all on the cast, this film also has some dire issues when it comes to the plot.
The pacing of this film just feels off. There’s too much time wasted doing nothing and just focusing on setting everything up, I was wanting it to hurry up and stop dragging it’s feet. Because it spends too much time setting things up, not enough time is left to explore some of the more interesting spirits/entities. Nothing of much interest happens to be honest. The scares are almost entirely run of the mill, I felt like the writers just got lazy with the material. There is one thing in particular that made me pretty mad because it was so stupid. There’s a werewolf like creature introduced at one point and it’s a complete waste of screen time. Are we supposed to be scared by a big rabid dog running after someone? Is this Twilight or Van Helsing? No, this is Annabelle and these films are supposed to be frightening. They could have filled that space with a really scary entity that had substance, not some dumb animal.
That also felt oddly out of place for this type of film, and just extremely disappointing. I really hate to say it but Annabelle Comes Home is a misfire and pales in comparison to the much scarier, more interesting installments that came before it. It fails to use atmosphere to it’s advantage like The Nun and is without lead players that can carry a film (like Vera Farmiga or Patrick Wilson). It’s probably worth one view if you’re a fan, but wait for it to come on TV or something, don’t pay admission price.