Good luck avoiding creepy toys this summer. Between the Vincent ventriloquist dummies in Toy Story 4 and Chucky, the scariest Alexa ever, in the Child's Play reboot, summer 2019 belongs to demonic dolls. It's only appropriate, then, that Annabelle, the terrifying doll from The Conjuring universe, is starring in yet another film.
Annabelle Comes Homes is the third film in The Conjuring's spin-off franchise — following Annabelle and origin story Annabelle: Creation — but this time, Annabelle Comes Home takes us all the way back to 2013's The Conjuring.
The Conjuring opens with paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), hearing the story of Annabelle from three terrified roommates. They believe that Annabelle is a doll possessed by the spirit of a ghost, to which the Warrens say: Close, but not exactly. There is no "Annabelle," only a manipulative demonic spirit who tricked the roommates into believing it was possessed by a ghost of a little girl so that it would invite the spirit into their home. (Do not do this.) Annabelle, the doll, is merely a "conduit" for evil, meaning that spirits and demons are attracted to the doll.
Annabelle Comes Home opens with the same scene as The Conjuring, but we see what happens immediately after the Warrens left the roommates and headed home with Annabelle in the backseat of their car. The couple's car mysteriously breaks down in front of a cemetery, where Lorraine is instantly contacted by the ghosts of the dead — who proceed to nearly kill Ed by pushing him in front of a speeding truck.
The near-death experience makes Lorraine and Ed realise that Annabelle is really bad news, because she is basically a lightning rod for spirits both good and bad. They take Annabelle to a priest, who blesses her...but, realising that it's not enough, they decide to use chapel glass to create a forever "home" for the doll.
Some time passes, and the Warrens' young daughter Jodie (McKenna Grace) is home alone for the weekend with her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). After learning what the Warrens really do for work, Mary Ellen's friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) decides she must come over. Daniela recently lost her father, so she's eager to experiment with the occult in order to hopefully contact him from beyond the grave. Instead of reaching her dad, however, Daniela succeeds in opening up Annabelle's glass box, inadvertently releasing all the evil spirits that were once safely confined in the artifact room.
Naturally, chaos ensues.
For those wondering how the heck that demonic spirit got attached to Annabelle, the doll, in the first place, one has to go back to Annabelle: Creation. In the 2017 film, Janice (Talitha Bateman) is possessed by the demonic spirit at an orphanage after the owners invite what they believe is the spirit of their dead child Annabelle to "possess" Annabelle's then-favourite doll. Janice-as-the-demon flees the orphanage and is eventually adopted after giving herself the name — you guessed it! — Annabelle. As an adult, Janice/Annabelle joins a death cult that's totally not (but definitely is) the Manson family, murders her parents, and dies, sending the demonic spirit back to the doll.
What other spooky adventures await Annabelle? We'll have to wait until the next instalment of The Conjuring franchise to find out. In the meantime, though, stay tuned for producers to announce possible spin-offs from Annabelle Coming Home. If there's one thing that has more life than the demon residing around Annabelle, it's this horror franchise's potential to make more movies.