Proving once and for all that the “Conjuring” cinematic universe works so much better when New Line takes their time to offer something made with care rather than haste, “Annabelle Comes Home” is a third entry in to the spin off that delivers big time. 2014’s “Annabelle” is a distant memory now, as the series has managed to redeem the spin off transforming Annabelle the doll in to a worthwhile villain who brings only death and carnage where ever she is, and we never spend time trying to find out why. She’s merely an instrument for evil and that’s what helps “Annabelle Comes Home” as an entertaining monster movie about evil preying on the weak.
It’s stunning that there has never been much stride made in the realm of possession movies. It seems like “The Exorcist” was the beginning and end of the sub-genre, followed by decades of films that ranged from serviceable to downright abysmal. “Belzebuth” further proves that theory as it’s a middling horror thriller that’s densely packed, kind of confusing, and ironically manages to deliver some good scares from the real life atrocities it depicts rather than the images of demons, evil Jesus Christ, and exorcisms.
I’ve always been and will continue to be a staunch defender of John Carpenter. He’s one of my all time favorite filmmakers and even his weakest outputs have some great creativity to them. “Vampires” is fun in all its schlocky nonsense, and “Ghosts of Mars” is a fun remake of “Assault on Precinct 13” for a contemporary audience. Eighteen years later, “Ghosts of Mars” is fine C grade science fiction redeemed by Carpenter’s sharp direction, and the absolutely gorgeous Natasha Henstridge.
To its credit, “The Taking of Deborah Logan” is a horror film that’s generally remained in the public consciousness mainly for its memorable imagery. As a horror movie it’s just an okay experience that probably would have been so much more effective as a filmed feature. In the end, it’s mainly an okay found footage horror movie that comes out pretty golden mainly for two or three really memorable moments that have become internet memes and are still widely circulated to this day.
2014’s “Annabelle” should have been an easy win. Take one of the most frightening elements from 2012’s “The Conjuring” and give her her own spooky tale about where she comes from and you have another hit. Sadly, “Annabelle” was an ill conceived and silly movie that is given a second chance with another prequel “Creation.” This film goes even further back before “The Conjuring” to where the doll was merely a dormant spirit lying and waiting for fresh souls to exploit.
While the rest of the horror community are celebrating the big releases from Scream Factory this year like “Creepshow” and “Trick r Treat,” in comes a somewhat overlooked horror child known as the “[REC] Collection.” Shout! outdoes themselves packing together all four films from the found footage horror series from Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, and it’s a box set that should be explored if you’ve never seen the “[REC]” films or have only ever seen the original.
Many years later, director Sam Firstenberg’s “Ninja III” is an out of left field mix of horror, action, and ninjas, all of which were very popular in the eighties. I was never quite sure what happened to “Ninja” one or two, but when I was a kid, “Ninja III” was a bonafide favorite of mine that I’d indulge in every time it was on network television. Thankfully I’m not alone as “Ninja III” has become a cult classic that stands alone, much like “Troll 2.” There’s just something fascinating about a young woman and aerobics enthusiast being possessed by the ghost of a ninja, who begins to seek revenge on his past foes.