Dauberman, who also co-wrote the recent iteration of It, uses a similar strategy here in how he exploits scare tactics: throwing everything at the wall in the hope that some of it will stick. While that worked to some extent in It, even if the script still felt like a collection of scenes rather than an actual plot, Annabelle Comes Home is hopelessly light on scares. Like other Conjuring entries, there’s some nifty camerawork at play during some of the suspense sequences but nothing comes close to evoking genuine fear and the audience I saw it with reacted with more annoyance at the dim-witted behaviour of the leads over any actual shock.
The astounding box office success of the Conjuring universe can also, in my mind, be attributed to its deep-rooted belief in the power of God. In this chapter in particular, faith is the most important weapon against evil and it’s easy to see how well these films would play to Christian audiences who might otherwise reject the idea of an R-rated horror film. But for non-believers, it can often border on propaganda, especially when trying to use fear as a way to make us believe. There’s not even anything here that will convert a Conjuring universe non-believer let alone an atheist. Ultimately, the scariest thing about Annabelle Comes Home is that despite its utter emptiness, more sequels, prequels and spin-offs will follow regardless.
Annabelle Comes Home is out in the US on 28 June and in the UK on 12 July
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