Annabelle Comes Home (PG13)

Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Mckenna Grace

Directed by Gary Dauberman

This is the seventh entry in The Conjuring universe, and after this, there’s probably half a dozen more to come. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren, but they don’t do much except in the start and end of this fictionalised ’70s-set spooky tale. Most of the heavy lifting, i.e. screaming and running, is done by Mckenna Grace as the Warrens’ tween daughter, and Madison Iseman as their babysitter, and Katie Sarife as her spectre-fixated pal. It’s the latter who’s responsible for waking up the eponymous demon doll — “a beacon for other spirits” — and assorted nasty entities (and potential spin-offs) residing in Warrens’ artifacts room. The fright tactics conjured by first-time helmer and writer Gary Dauberman, who also authored the two Annabelle prequels, are serviceable, if a little familiar and workmanlike, after a while. Actually, the whole shebang feels like a glorified haunted house theme-park ride, but the earnest performances by the relatively unknown (but likeable) actors keep the emotional stakes high.(***)

Photo: Warner Bros Pictures 

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