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‘Annabelle Comes Home’ is slow, soulless

Six years ago, a small $20 million film named “The Conjuring” entered into the horror genre. Making a return roughly 16 times over alerted producers there was plenty of money to milk out of this future series. “Annabelle Comes Home,” the seventh film in The Conjuring Universe, solidifies any thought that this is a movie made solely for profit, with a story as soulless as its scares.

After paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorrain (Vera Farmiga) Warren come in contact with the demonic Annabelle doll, they find it best to keep it locked away, far from anyone’s reach. The night their daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace), ALONG with her two babysitters are left alone in the house, all hell breaks loose when Annabelle is let out. The three soon learn they may not get to see the next morning.

There used to be life in this franchise, but after the past three films – including “The Nun,” “The Curse of La Llorona,” and this film” – it is clear to see there is none left. The first act came and went by painfully slow; I thought the movie was going to pick up once the main story was set into motion. I was wrong. The following second act continued at the same pace. However, I was initially impressed with the lack of jump scares, considering this film is a part of a franchise that is oversaturated with them. There were some clever fake outs that gave me hope for the rest of the film. It turns out that was false hope. Once the film became more chaotic, there was a cheap thrill waiting around every corner. I can recall at least three sequences that amounted to a loud noise paired with a startling creature. These uncreative, undeserved, and predictable scares make for a boring time. If the filmmakers do not care to deliver authentic horror, why should I care for their film?

There is a technique used in film, or any story at that, called Chekhov’s gun. It states that if a gun is fired in one act, then in the following act it will be fired. In laymen’s term, everything serves a purpose. When used wisely, it is entirely practical. But when it is so obviously used in almost every single scene during the hour of the film, it eliminates its effect.

Although there was much “evil” in the film (not the kind we want), luckily there is some good to be found. The technical execution was very well done. The cinematography, production design, and sound production all showcased craftmanship. The acting performance given by McKenna Grace was a hit too. She has a career ahead of her that is off to a promising start. The last 30 minutes may not be memorable, but at least it was enjoyable and wrapped up nicely.

A cheap movie to make like “Annabelle Comes Home” will surely make its money back within its first weekend which signifies to producers that overtly below-average films like this are admissible. I know better. When the next film in this series is released, I’ll stay home.

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