Annabelle Comes Home is looking to expand upon the beloved Conjuring universe of horror films by going back in time. The film will be an origin story of sorts for the haunted Annabelle doll which has now appeared in three movies (not including her cameos in James Wan's Aquaman and David F. Sandberg's Shazam! movies). While the doll will be at the center as the title implies, the younger and newer characters will explore stories rooted in the Warren family's artifact room. This means Annabelle Comes Home will be offering up a new look at the family of paranormal investigators. After inviting ComicBook.com to the editing room where he is putting the finishing touches on his directorial debut, Annabelle Comes Home director Gary Dauberman opened up about the rich history he is exploring this time around.
"It definitely ties into the larger continuity," Dauberman explained, enthusiastically sitting beside a trio of monitors glowing with Adobe Premiere files containing the current edits of his movie. "You know, Annabelle: Creation really focused on sort of the origin, the creation of the doll. In this one I really wanted to, sort of, I wanted to dig into the Warren's a little bit. It's nice to see them not talking about, just for a minute, not talking about paranormal investigation or something. Just be two people who are married, in a relationship. He's got terrible sense of direction. Just things like that."
The levity was on display when Dauberman showed off a clip of Ed and Lorraine Warren literally bringing the Annabelle doll home as the title promises. The relationship is at ease without an immediate implication of terror -- until they come across a graveyard and things get creepy. The scene which appeared to be early in the film was later followed up by a couple of others, which focused on characters and cast members who are new to the franchise.
The next clip was a perfect example of how Annabelle Comes Home will vary from previous entries to the franchise. While the earlier clip impressively mastered misleading audiences, forcing them to anticipate a jump scare through a particularly framed shot through a car window at a cemetery, the next look offered up a healthy dose of levity and heart. When Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) is displaying an awkward social presence, her friend is quick to invite the cute boy from the grocery story to her house. While Ed & Lorraine have a presence here in the form of newspaper articles squeaking into the shot and young characters questioning their hauntings, the characters don't physically appear but maintain a presence. Plus, it all offers an 80s vibe through is muted, brown and orange color schemes.
Things quickly change and the audience will be reminded they are at a Conjuring universe movie. The artifact room becomes a character itself -- a room which we had the chance to explore when Warner Bros. invited us to the set. though everything was part of a set created for this film, it offered up a vibe creepier than one might expect, especially considering the filmmakers found it necessary to have the set blessed before production began.
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One new character, Daniela, seeks answers regarding her late father only to be unexpectedly greeted by the desire to connect with him -- so she thinks the artifact room is a good place for this. Like the first scene on display, the artifact room scene shown off came with a well-timed and earned jump scare over a creepy piano encounter.
"This is a little further in the movie," Dauberman explained. "Daniela is a character I haven't talked about much, but she's one of Mary Ellen's friends. She has in the past year lost a loved one, her father. And part of the reason the Warren's have drawn her attention is because of what they do, and she wonders, if what they do is real, then maybe it means that my father's still out there and there is something. It's sort of in a weird way, sort of emotionally helping her sort of reconcile with the loss of her father."
Be carefull what you ask for, though. The answers are often terrifying. "I really tried that, to do that with a bunch of the scares here," Dauberman said of keeping the audience on their toes. "And also not just go for the jump scares all the time. You think something's going to happen, that it doesn't, or maybe I tried to go... there's a sequence that feels a little bit more Twilight Zone-y, that a traditional sort of approaching of the corner and there's the monster behind it. So we try to vary it up to that, on that level."
Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters on June 26, 2019.