Sunday, June 30, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Name: Annabelle Comes Home
Year of Release: 2019
Director: Gary Dauberman
Starring: McKenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee, Sade Katarina, Steve Coulter, Natalia Safran
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
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Synopsis and Review:
The prolific "Conjuring" universe continues its expansion, this time around with another chapter in the "Annabelle" doll story. The film is the feature directorial debut for writer Gary Dauberman, who has written all the entries in the series thus far (on top of being responsible for the screenplays for "It" and "The Nun"). The film takes place in the 1970s, after Ed and Lorraine Warren take possession of the Annabelle doll and bring her to their home, in order to safely guard her in a controlled environment. While investigating a case, Ed and Lorraine have to leave town and leave their young daughter Judy with the sweet and responsible babysitter, Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen's best friend, the strong willed and emotionally bruised Daniela, decides to come to the Warren's home, since she has read about them, and personally wants to make contact with her recently deceased father. Against Judy's recommendations, she goes through the house, discovers Ed's keys, and accesses the room where all demonic artifacts are kept. What they collectively start experiencing defies logic and what is unleashed threatens their very existence.
Most of the "Conjuring" cinematic experience has been defined by films that are anchored on the definition of environments and the suggestion of horror. James Wan's "The Conjuring" is a lesson in economy of narrative, inventive stylistic choices, and character development that though taut and succinct, still allows for characters to be engaging and dimensional. "Annabelle Comes Home" takes its time for the events to start unfolding, which allows for the characters and their relationships to be shaped. Sadly, the characters are very much like clich├ęs, and don't have that much to define them, which renders their relationships somewhat shallow. The director finds a way to balance this with a strong definition of a menacing atmosphere that becomes more oppressive as the film advances. There's tangents to what Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg created with "Poltergeist", though this film discards the family angle, focusing more on the abilities and uniqueness of Judy, the central character who is convincingly portrayed by McKenna Grace. The supporting cast is equally strong, particularly when the fantastic Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are around. The cinematography from Michael Burgess is impeccable, as is the score from Joseph Bishara. Worth watching.

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