Writer Gary Dauberman has certainly got some impressive writing credits under his belt. Having penned the screenplay for both It (2017) and the eagerly anticipated It Chapter Two along with all the previous Annabelle films in The Conjuring universe, means he certainly has the experience and, to an extent, proven track record to make a good movie.
Annabelle Comes Home is the screenwriter’s first go at directing and although the Annabelle films have never appealed to me quite as much as The Conjuring 1 & 2 I was still quite excited to head along to a preview screening of the latest entry into the ‘Horrorverse.’ Especially since Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga were set to reprise their roles as Ed & Lorraine Warren.
I’m not going to muck around with getting to the point here. This movie is bad. It’s a cash grab. It is poorly written, poorly executed and extremely badly paced. Annabelle Comes Home is a film that begins to show the decline of what was overall a pretty decent franchise.
Although the film may lead you to believe this is about the Warrens, it is actually about their young daughter Judy who is at home with the babysitter and a house filled with haunted items. When the babysitter’s friend Daniela invites herself over for the night Annabelle is released. I can accept that bad decisions often need to be made in the setup of a horror film in order for the bad things to start happening – but this was ridiculous.
Despite Daniela spending the whole first hour of the film expressing her desire to get into the Warrens’ haunted room and DESPITE Judy and babysitter Mary Ellen constantly telling her “no” and that “it’s dangerous, never go in there”, they STILL leave her alone in the house so she can go into said room and unleash the evil, touching every single haunted item. OH BY THE WAY – THE WARRENS HAVE 5 LOCKS ON THE DOOR OF THE HAUNTED ARTIFACT ROOM BUT ALL THE KEYS ARE ON THE SAME KEYRING AND THEY LEAVE THE KEYS ON THE DESK WHENEVER THEY GO AWAY FOR THE WEEKEND JUST IN CASE, YA KNOW, A STUDIO NEEDS TO MAKE A BADLY WRITTEN CASH-GRAB.
What follows is a 70-minute build up where absolutely nothing happens – I’m all for a slow build but when you know exactly where a film is going (because it’s following the same formula of every other film in the franchise) why does it need to take so long to get there? We know Annabelle is going to be released. Just make it happen already. Why are you all walking so slowly? How long does it take to open a door? Was this filmed in slow motion? Why is there a badly CGI’d werewolf in this? What’s with the jokes about “big balls”. Do I sound bitter? Maybe. I wish I could say “I’m not just mad, I’m disappointed” but then I wouldn’t get to enjoy writing this angrily disappointed review.
There are a few cheap jump scares along the way – and one cool concept involving a haunted TV (which has a remote – in the 70’s) and one hilarious scene involving a pizza guy (which doesn’t fit into the movie in the slightest but it gets a point for being genuinely hilarious).
Other than that it’s like the Neapolitan ice cream of horror movies. Looks good on the label but because they try to add too many flavours and the ingredients themselves just aren’t that good – it all just ends up bland, melted and leaves you wishing you’d gone to Ben and Jerry’s instead. I don’t care if this metaphor doesn’t make sense. Neither does the movie.
I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.
And mad. Lol.
– Ashton Brown