Such is the unfortunate truth about going to the movies at a time when multi-million dollar “event blockbusters” have become de rigueur. The rest of cinema, i.e. mid-budget studio releases featuring standalone stories about fallible human characters, seem almost revolutionary by comparison.
Make no mistake, the third installment in the Annabelle film series is not a provocative piece of avant-garde filmmaking by any stretch. Serving as an entry in an ever-expanding cinematic universe that includes James Wan’s The Conjuring films, Annabelle Comes Home is still a product of the current franchise gold rush – a cog in a late-capitalist money-making machine.
Despite its corporate origin, however, Annabelle Comes Home manages to enthrall in its pared-down approach to the franchise’s “funhouse horror” formula. Furthermore, its earnest humanity sets it apart from the vast majority of this year’s summer tentpoles in which flesh-and-blood characters are replaced by a stable of broadly-sketched caricatures.
Set sometime between the events of The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, Annabelle Comes Home returns to the halcyon days of the mid-1970s, when married paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) just closed a curious case involving the titular demonic doll.