Along with the returning Conjuring universe cast members such as Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, Annabelle Comes Home is introducing a slew of young actresses who are adding a sense of levity to the franchise. That said, the film will maintain the franchise's dark, haunting vibes offered by a handful of films before it.
While visiting the set, ComicBook.com met several of the film's new cast members, while also watching them in action during a sequence which seemed to check each box of the horror genre traditions. A babysitter, some kids, home alone, and a creepy door bell ring... what else do we need?
Enter Madison Iseman, known best for her role as Bethany in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, as the babysitter named MaryEllen. Portraying what appears to be an innocent, fun character, Iseman offered a deeper understand of her role.
"I play MaryEllen and MaryEllen is the babysitter of Judy Lauren," Iseman explained. "She is kind of this almost perfect, idealistic girl. She's very pure. She kind of has her whole life planned out in front of her. She is very put together." Naturally, things aren't going to go as MaryEllen planned. "So, of course when everything kind of goes wrong, she has an interesting way of dealing with it. It's definitely not what she's used to."
Throughout the film, MaryEllen's main objective is to look after McKenna Grace's Judith. She always wants to "make sure everything's taken care of and she takes a huge responsibility as far as taking care of everything," Iseman explained. "Especially when her friend comes over as well and she feels a big responsibility for Danielle as well. So she kind of puts on the burden of everyone else in a sense. She's the babysitter, caretaker. "
MaryEllen doesn't come without her ties to characters from the previous films. She is very close with Patrick Wilson's Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga's Lorraine Warren.
Then there's the young McKenna Grace's Judy. Grace sat down with members of the press, oozing with enthusiasm and charisma at the young age of 12.
"She's very kind," Grace said of Judy. "She knows a lot about paranormal subjects. Ed and Lorraine's daughter. But, I mean, there's not too much I can tell you about her besides the obvious, she's Lorraine's daughter. Yeah, I can't really spoil anything."
Despite being the young one on set, Grace is not being steered clear of any terrifying sequences. "I've done about three 'scared' scenes so far," Grace said. "Haven't been too scared in those." While the moments which scare the audiences on screen aren't necessarily scary on set, other encounters are leaving cast members feeling haunted. "I did have a scary story," Grace said. "On one of the first days I came and looked at the house that they built on set. We were doing our rehearsal, and my nose just poured blood all of a sudden. And the lights were off. I remember the lights were off, because hey had to reset something. The lights were off, and I was like, 'There's blood!' And as soon as I stepped outside to go to the restroom to get a tissue, it stopped. It was creepy."
Grace is far from the only cast member to claim to have an odd, creepy experience within the Conjuring universe's films. In fact, the production had its set blessed prior to rolling cameras.
Finally, there is Katie Sarife, the actress playing Daniella, best friend to Iseman's MaryEllen. "She's fun-loving. She speaks her mind," Sarife said. "She's best friends with MaryEllen, who's Madison's character, and I feel like she's kind of definitely the more outgoing of the two. She kind of pushes her out of her comfort zone. Then she is really interested in the afterlife, because she had an experience with a lost loved one. So that kind of is where that stems from. Yeah, she's got a lot of heart. She's cool."
While Sarife seems to be the cool, put together character, she will be a major driver within the narrative as the recent loss of her father will leave her searching for answers and haunted. More details on that are being kept a secret, for now.
However, the actress does admit there is a particular obstacle in taking on a film about a haunted doll. "I was terrified of dolls growing up," Sarife admits. "I still, sort of am. I had one particular doll in my room that I never... my mom never took out of it. No matter how much I cried. I thought they were real. Now, whenever I go home, I'm an adult, I'll say 'Mom, it's not in my room anymore, please keep it away.'"
Now, she's working on a Hollywood film, facing her biggest fear.
Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters on June 28.