The attacks, the artifacts, and the verdict on ‘Anabelle Comes Home’

July 02, 2019 – Diane Gundaya and Alfonso Sales

Miss her?

The controversial and haunted worn-out porcelain doll named Annabelle is back.

It was around 2014 when the story behind this notorious doll came out, serving as the prequel to “The Conjuring.” The film entitled “Annabelle” showed us how this rare vintage porcelain doll ended up at the Form’s house and how it brought evil deeds to their family.

After a few years, Annabelle’s” prequel came out in the middle of 2017 called “Annabelle: Creation.” This film mainly revealed how the rare eerie doll became this terrifying soul-sucker Annabelle.

Now this 2019, the sequel to 2014’s Annabelle and the seventh installment in the Conjuring Universe franchise is finally out! With “Annabelle Comes Home,” the demonologists couple, the Warrens, finally retrieves the haunted doll and brings it home—literally.  

She’s coming home

The film starts with Ed and Lorraine Warren, sitting in the living room with some girls, explaining to them about what is really up with the porcelain doll and convinces them that it would be safer if they would let them keep the doll. 

Without any inhibitions, they let the Warrens have the doll.

On their way home, several occurrences happened that almost put the two in danger. Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) realized that the doll seems to be a beacon for other spirits (which means she can call other spirits to wherever she is). It tried to call on spirits from the nearby cemetery to attack Ed (Patrick Wilson). Good thing the two were able to manage and successfully brought the doll home.

Waiting in front of their garage was Father Gordon. The three hurriedly went inside and straight to the Warren’s safe room downstairs. The safe room was filled with numerous artifacts that the couple recovered from their past paranormal cases. Together with Father Gordon’s help, they locked the doll inside a sacred glass case and blessed it in order to ensure that the evil is contained.

One year later

A year later, the Warrens were off to another investigation and seeks the help of a babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) to look after their 10-year old daughter named Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace).

People at school started to treat Judy as an outcast when an article about her demonologist parents came out. Good thing her babysitter, Mary Ellen is always there to defend her.

Since Judy’s birthday is near, Mary Ellen decided to bake a cake for Judy. She passed by the supermarket to pick up some ingredients and came across her friend, Daniela. Daniela tries to convince Mary Ellen to allow her to come with her at the Warren’s house. However, it was strictly ordered by the Warrens to not let anyone enter the house aside from her and Judy, which is why she refused.

Ever since the article came out, Daniela was itching to get inside the Warren’s house. She wanted to get a glimpse of the safe room/artifact room, curious to see where the different relics and objects that may contact spirits on the other side, resides.

House party

Daniela, uninvited, enters the Warren’s house through the back door carrying a present for the birthday girl. Judy happily accepts the gift and wishes to try it on. Mary Ellen, on the other hand, startled to see Daniela inside the house eventually let her stay but only with the condition that she will not touch anything. Daniela agrees with the condition but eventually does the opposite. She persuades Mary Ellen to come with Judy outside in order for her to try the present that she gave her.

While the two were outside, Daniela tries to open the securely locked safe room. Failed to open it using her bare hands, she snoops around the house, hoping to find the keys, searching from every corner and every room. Surprisingly, she discovers the keys behind a picture frame located at the Warren’s office. She hastily went downstairs and started to unlock the door and invited herself in.

She literally touched everything, eager to look for something that would let her contact a dead person. She wanted to apologize to her dad who recently passed away due to an accident that she believes, happened because of her. 

While tinkering with some items, she suddenly heard a loud thump behind her. When she turned around, she saw the doll, already leaning forward, its head close to the glass door, looking like she was pushing it.

Daniela, curious about the doll, walked towards it and examined the whole thing. She then suddenly unlocks the glass door and reaches for the doll and put it back in the same sitting position when she first saw it. After doing so, she just closed the glass door and forgot to lock it.

Since Daniela forgot to lock the glass door, Annabelle is now free to do whatever she wants. 

The haunting started with the spirit of Bee Mullins (if you have watched Annabelle: Creation, you probably have seen her), the little girl keeps on knocking on the front door, trying to disturb Mary Ellen, asking her if she could play with Annabelle. Moreover, that night, Annabelle started to release other spirits. 

This is where the exciting part comes in. Unlike the first two films, this one highlights how powerful Annabelle can be. It shows how it can summon numerous evil spirits and order them to haunt people. 

The artifacts

If you have watched the past Conjuring films, the safe room or the artifact room is clearly not new to you since it has been shown before.  Annabelle Comes Home finally gives us a tour around the Warren’s one of a kind museum of cryptic things (thanks to Daniela for finding the key).

This is the first-time people get to see the other cursed objects for a longer time on screen. A bride’s gown, a samurai armor, a board game, an old school TV, a piano, and the list goes on. The film carefully showed us different artifacts, one by one. Giving us somehow an idea of how it came to be and what was its purpose.

But it seems like the Bride was the most highlighted one. When Daniela first entered the safe room, she hears a voice of woman saying, “I like your doll” (which was also said to Lorraine when they were still inside the car during the start of the film). We then see a wedding dress on a mannequin in the corner of the Warren’s safe room. It says that the wedding dress at the corner was worn by the bride who possesses women, makes them wear the dress, and orders them to kill their spouse.

Also, this entity attacked Judy inside her room. Good thing Judy was able to protect herself from this demonic creature by stating a prayer.

Aside from the Bride, Annabelle also released the Ferryman, cursed samurai armor, a Feeley Meeley board game (by the way, this bit caught us off guard) and of course, the hellhound.

It is good that they finally revealed some of the back stories of those obscure items that dwells in the safe room. However, it could have been better if they also showed us the story behind the infamous monkey with cymbals since it was shown several times in the film and in the past films as well.

The attacks

The film started to fall short when the simultaneous attacks happened. It looked like there was so much going on but the truth is that there is not much. 

Here’s the thing, during the past Conjuring films, we were all briefed that the safe room/ artifact room houses powerful, cursed, and dangerous items—just merely touching one might cause havoc.

In this film, we see Daniela, touching almost all, tinkering stuff from here and there. By that moment, we all are probably scared of what might happen to her because it seems like what she touched were powerful ones. However, it looks like these items weren’t that powerful as they should be, well, at least by how it was presented in the film.

Imagine, numerous evil entities were released and started to play highjinks with the characters yet it seems like they were taking it easy on these three, because they weren’t injured or hurt at all. They just scream from here and there. Some foot grabbing action, locked inside a room full of scary stuff, a hellhound running around wanting to bite someone, and that’s it.

The verdict

Overall, it seems like the problem in this film is the story. It lacked sincerity in most scenes, especially those that includes Daniela. Her motivation appears overrated and her character seems flat. It looks like she is just this teenage girl who doesn’t give a damn about what might happen to people, doesn’t even second guess her actions, and tries to make herself less guilty by trying to contact her dad on the other side.

Also, sadly, the ending was anticlimactic. Imagine powerful demons teamed up with Annabelle, trying to terrorize kids yet they were able to grab Annabelle easily and put it back into the sacred glass case. It happened too quick making it look like those entities weren’t really as powerful as the past films hyped them to be.

In a way, the film looked like a Goosebumps and Home Alone feature rolled into one, but with spirits lingering inside the house and the kids’ job is to seal them back to the cabinet before mom and dad arrives. 

On the other hand, the shots, pacing and sound design really brought the scare to another level. The jump scares were not really jump scares because it comes out during the scenes where you least expected it, an effective good technique. 

The wide shots with dark spaces were mostly used, just like what they did with other Conjuring films—this effectively added tension to the viewers, making them anticipate what is about to come out of that dark portion of the screen.

Annabelle Comes Home is actually the least scary among the Annabelle films. However, it is still an entertaining film, with its comedic/romantic gimmicks and jolting moments, this would be a good film if you are just looking for something that will make you startle. But if you are a horror movie fanatic, this film is just basic.

Overall, Annabelle came home with just a screech, not with a bang. Well, at least she’s home.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. “Annabelle Comes Home” is now showing on cinemas.