Annabelle Comes Home, the third entry in this possessed doll series and seventh overall in The Conjuring Universe.
The premise is simple. The film starts out with Ed & Lorraine Warren bringing the cursed doll home to stay in the artifact room in a glass case. When mom and dad Warren leave for a few days the babysitter, the Warrens daughter, and a friend are stuck in a straight up haunted house.
What sets apart most of the films in this universe is that aside from some jump scares, it tries to earn its thrills with unique villains, fun camera moves, and an overwhelming sense of dread. While the spinoffs have allowed more and more jumpy thrills and less story to try and appeal to a more mainstream audience. Remarkably the last two entries have been getting better.
First time director Gary Dauberman is no stranger to this series, having writing credits on the previous Annabelle films as well as The Nun. He is invested in this series and not just a director for hire and it shows. There is a level of care you can see on screen. The artifact room is gorgeous with all the glorious knick knacks and all manor of haunted tchotchkes. One of the greatest parts of this universe is the fan favorite baddies like the Nun and Crooked Man and this is no different. We get a few fantastic glimpses at the Ferryman which will undoubtedly have fans clambering for another spinoff. Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) is surprisingly great, coupled with Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) adds a little more weight and tension.
Now the not so great. While the “haunted house” angle is fun the endless jump scares and the disappearing and reappearing ghosts get very old. Another one of the creepiest things about the Annabelle dolls itself is that, until now, we never knew what exactly was possessing it. Now we know its some dude in so-so prosthetics and that really took the wind out of those sails for me. All in all this solid and if you are a fan of this series, you will enjoy this one.