Saturday, October 05, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home and Teenage Horror: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: a Blu-ray of this film was provided by the publicity division of Warner Bros.

Director: Gary Dauberman.

Writers: James Wan and Gary Dauberman.

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife.

Annabelle Comes Home is the third film in the Annabelle series and the seventh film in The Conjuring universe; all three Annabelle films have been written by Gary Dauberman. While this film fan enjoyed Annabelle: Creation (2017), this latest title is very limited in surprises or scares. In the first hour, the scariest incident involves a loud knock at a door. Unfortunately, there is still another fourty-five minutes to go. Even the story is light as a babysitter does her best to look after a young girl, while Mary Ellen's (Madison Iseman) friend unlocks a haunted room. An inanimate doll is now on the loose as the yawntastic action fails to gain steam. Annabelle Comes Home is a great film for young teenagers; everyone else should stay away.

Annabelle Comes Home can best be described as horror-lite. There are few surprises in the film's too long runtime of one hour and fourty-five minutes. In one scene, Mary Ellen's friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) snoops around a room full of cursed objects for ten to fifteen minutes. You would think in a so-called horror movie that something interesting would happen. Well, if you thought this, you would be wrong. The only significant action taking place is the opening of a case, which holds the film's cursed doll. As well, their are no on-screen deaths. The only violent act involves a stabbing, which is quickly forgotten and thrown away in the story. There are no jump scares. And, the only interesting scenes involve an open door, full of shadows and a wedding dress, which is able to appear in mirrors. The lack of genuine conflict and interactions are truly nap-inducing.

The story is also uncomplex. The plot can really be described in a line or two; a babysitter's friend unlocks a cursed room. Haunted items stalk a house and the inhabitants, to little effect. All of the characters are equally simple, outside of Daniela. Daniela wants to contact her father, after an untimely death. This is the McGuffin which is supposed to support the film's next hour and fourty-five minutes (of pure boredom). The plot does not progress much outside of Mary Ellen's wooer, Bob's-got-balls (Michael Cimino); even the jokes are set up for juveniles. Horror and story light, Annabelle Comes Home is truly a punishing film experience.

This film is really only for those in their teenage years. Any other viewer will be sadly disappointed by this latest Annabelle outing. Gorehounds will not find anything here as the film sticks to its PG-13 near bloodless rating. There is not even a swear word spoken between the two babysitters. Veteran horror fans will hardly be able to stay away during this production as the film tries nothing in the way of surprises. Does a suit of Samurai armour scare you? If yes, this might be the film for you. For everyone else, you will have to slog your way through this film's way too long runtime. Really, this film is only for first-time horror film watchers or for families with young children - who want to watch something during the Halloween season. Everyone should avoid this film as Annabelle Comes Home fails to try any new, exciting ground here.

Similar to Gary Dauberman's The Nun (2018), this is very watered down horror, which lacks an interesting story. This viewer is starting to believe that Dauberman has made a pact with the Devil for fame and riches, while promising to bore audiences to death. Very slowly paced and lacking an interesting conflict, Annabelle Comes Home is another generic Hollywood movie, which cannot even offer a scare or two - in 105 minutes! Unbelievably boring, this viewer fell asleep twice during the first screening and could not complete a second, for this review. The film is truly that bad and this film fan wonders if the Annabelle Comes Home Blu-ray is cursed itself.

Overall: 5.5 out of 10.

*there is a significant difference between Dauberman's work on earlier, Restricted material e.g. Annabelle: Creation vs his work on PG-13 fare e.g. Annabelle Comes Home. Dauberman should work on the former and skip the latter. A review of Dauberman's Annabelle: Creation, which is much better than the film here: An Annabelle: Creation Review on 28DLA

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