This article contains major Annabelle Comes Home spoilers.
The Conjuring universe may have started with a restrained haunted house story, but it’s since visited haunted monasteries, tapped into Mexican folklore, and teased a whole world of supernatural entities. The Conjuring universe shows no signs of slowing down, but undoubtedly one of the franchise’s most popular characters is the haunted doll, Annabelle. Annabelle Comes Home is the third film in the Annabelle saga and is easily the craziest offering from any of the Conjuring pictures. It even brings The Conjuring’s Ed and Lorraine Warren back into the mix.
This film tells a fairly self-contained story that’s neatly sandwiched between other films in the series, but Annabelle Comes Home still throws a lot at its audience. Werewolves, evil wedding dresses, and a prophetic television set are just the tip of the supernatural iceberg. It’s easy to lose track of all of the film’s references to the other Conjuring films and how it connects to the universe’s larger picture, so here’s a helpful breakdown of how the evil in Annabelle Comes Home is laid to rest.
Annabelle Comes Home removes Ed and Lorraine Warren from the equation and instead places their 10-year-old daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace), against the evil doll. Annabelle is safely locked away in her blessed glass cage, but it’s the grief and guilt of Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife), a friend of Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), Judy’s babysitter, that triggers the demonic presence. Daniela has recently lost her father and when she hears of the Warrens’ connection to the afterlife, she’s desperate to use their assets to make contact and apologize to her deceased dad. Instead Daniela ends up stirring the supernatural waters and distractedly lets Annabelle loose.
Unlike other efforts in The Conjuring saga, the final act of Annabelle Comes Home doesn’t revolve around the discovery of some ghost’s big secret or the blood of Christ. If you’re perplexed by the presence of a young girl who continually asks if Annabelle can play, that’s actually the ghost of Annabelle “Bee” Mullins (Samara Lee), the daughter of the toymaker from Annabelle: Creation, but this film is not about giving Annabelle’s spirit peace.
The mission in Annabelle Comes Home is actually quite simple in theory: Judy, Mary Ellen, and Daniela need to get Annabelle back in her cage. The only problem is that Annabelle’s doll is a beacon for demonic activity and Daniela’s interaction with it essentially triggers every haunted artifact in the Warren’s locked off room. It’s these haunted relics that are more of a mystery than the film’s actual resolution.
Other Conjuring films have featured demons that seemed ripe for spinoff films, but Annabelle Comes Home runs wild in this department. Judy and company square off against a possessed wedding dress that puts whoever wears it into a murderous rage; a serial killer masquerading as Charon the Ferryman from Greek mythology; Black Chuck, an evil ram; a demonic Samurai; a television that can see the future; and a haunted board game called Feeley Meeley. All of these are terrifying obstacles that could easily lead to new frightening adventures if there’s enough of a demand. On top of all this, the film explores Judy’s powers as a psychic, which may become the focus of later films if Ed and Lorraine ever step out of the spotlight.
In the end, Judy is able to seal Annabelle away by locking her back in her case, and this marks her most recent attack in the Conjuring films. For now, the evil is at bay. That’s not to say that there won’t be more Annabelle films set in the future, but this very much feels like the character is passing the torch over to the Warrens’ many other haunted curiosities. Then again maybe a showdown between Annabelle and a grown up Judy will eventually be in the cards?
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.