Horror movie releases are on a roll in 2019, with the coming months including Midsommar, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and It Chapter Two. Annabelle Comes Home is the latest installment within The Conjuring franchise, which is known to branch out with different plotlines, but maybe it’s time to quit while it’s ahead. 

Annabelle Comes Home is another sequel within the Annabelle series. Annabelle was released in 2014 and Annabelle: Creation was released in 2017. The Conjuring has two movies to its name and a spin-off prequel to The Conjuring 2, The Nun was released in 2018. Adding to the franchise, The Conjuring 3 is apparently in production and has a release date in 2020. 

The latest installment from the franchise revolves around Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace), her babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), and Mary Ellen’s friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife). While Mary Ellen is babysitting Judy, Daniela sneaks into the Warrens’ artifact room and touches everything, even unlocking from a case Annabelle, who is a beacon for spirits and unleashes all the evil into the house.

Though the film is the franchise’s latest installment, it had a lot of similarities with previous scares, almost like the universe is recycling old tactics. The most notable scare is between the new film and The Conjuring 2, with both featuring a remote going missing and then returning with a bang or an entity appearing. In typical horror movie fashion, the film’s trailer includes scares that don’t even align with the film. In the trailer, Judy wakes up at night and looks under her covers to find Annabelle at her feet. She closes her covers, opens them back up and Annabelle is closer, up at her stomach. Then, suddenly a woman screams up from under her covers and grabs for Judy. In the actual scene, Annabelle never inches closer. 

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the film is the idiocy of the plot. The entire movie focuses on the fact that Daniela, who appears to be an upperclassman in high school, touches almost everything in the artifact room when the sign explicitly says not to. There is also a random love interest, which doesn’t add substance to the scares, or film, at all. The placement of the love interest seems to appeal to a younger audience and softens the definition of true horror.

The plot inconsistencies aren’t the biggest problem of the film, though. The background stories of the case files from the different possessed items are way too in depth, and they muddle the main plot for Annabelle. In the trailer, the Ferry Man was supposed to be a big budget scare, but the background story for the character is too much and too complicated. 

The film isn’t great, but the acting is realistic. Grace accurately portrays a middle-schooler who is a bit of an outcast, especially when her parents are demonologists. She is incredibly well-spoken and gave genuine reactions to the scares. The actress’ performance shouldn’t be surprising with her filmography, which includes The Haunting of Hill House, Gifted, Captain Marvel and I, Tonya

It is interesting that Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson who play Lorrain and Ed Warren aren’t heavily featured in the film. They had minor appearances at the beginning and end of the film, which is odd because all the movies within the franchise heavily featured the characters. 

The film does do a great job in connecting the movie to The Conjuring universe. It can be confusing to connect the dots to which movie connects where, but the movie does a concise job in spelling it out for the audience. The movie is dedicated to Lorrain Warren who died this past year. Ed died in 2006, which begs the question: what will happen to all the possessed items? Nonetheless, Annabelle Comes Home does scare at some parts, but it’s definitely not one to pay to see. Sit it out and wait for Netflix or Hulu to pick it up.