Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

“Annabelle Comes Home” is a likable-enough but nevertheless frustrating movie-watching experience. There are so many elements that work well together that it’s impossible to dismiss the movie outright: The characters are very likable, and even though they’re not particularly well-written (courtesy of Gary Dauberman’s anemic screenplay), they’re at least ably played by an extraordinarily charismatic cast (in particular young Mckenna Grace, who carries the movie’s dramatic content with aplomb). The atmosphere is also striking, often recalling Gothic horror iconography as well as old-fashioned haunted-house tropes straight out of “The Haunting” and “House on Haunted Hill” that shift the focus away from the more typical jump scares of modern horror movies and head straight into slow-eeriness. Unfortunately the movie stumbles thanks to its over-indulgent editing: Editor Kirk Morri allows a number of effectively creepy moments to go on far too long, draining the scenes of any momentum or payoff by meandering until the audience becomes disengaged. A tighter, judicious re-edit of the movie could trim up to 15-20 minutes of fat and improve the pace, which would in turn maximize the effectiveness of its scares, but as it is, it’s a good-but-not-great entry in the ongoing franchise

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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