While Disney is looking for more ways to squeeze every cent imaginable from their cinematic universe, there is another cinematic universe that is still running strong outside of the Disney machine and that is The Conjuring Universe. The same universe that has brought you such films as The Conjuring, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona is back with their latest project, Annabelle Comes Home. Two years ago, Annabelle: Creation was released and made over 300 million on a 15 million dollar budget. The film was pretty good but pushed the amount of plot induced stupidity you could take in one movie. Fortunately, you don’t have to about any of that in a much improved Annabelle 3.
Annabelle Comes Home begins with our favorite demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who return to claim the evil doll, Annabelle. Realizing that the evil is too strong to contain, they decide to lock it in the case in their basement. When they decide to go out of town on a case, their daughter and their babysitters decide to go snooping around and one of them inadvertently unleashes every evil spirit they have ever brought home leading to a night of pure terror.
If you are a fan of The Conjuring, you pretty much get more of the same. The pacing is slow and methodical spending the entire film building up a scare that never quite comes when you expect it. The tension is strong throughout which has become a trademark of the series. Once again, there are many easter eggs of previous films here as well as some setup for future horror films and characters. The negatives of this film would be it is very much more of the same, if you have seen one Conjuring universe film then you know what to expect. The cinematography is visually dark on purpose but sometimes it is distracting. There is a bit too much filler as the cast isn’t great but they play their parts well. While you feel the runtime of this film more than others, the film doesn’t ask too much of their actors which works in their favor.
Annabelle Comes Home is structurally sound but a bit formulaic if you are a long term viewer of the series. However, given the low financial risk for these films, I wouldn’t expect anything to change anytime soon.