What makes Annabelle Comes Home enjoyable is that nearly all of the characters are pleasant people. Unlike in many horror movies, no one seems deserving of being haunted or threatened with impending demise. You likely won’t root for anyone to meet a grisly end (unless, in this case, you’re kind of sadistic).
Occult power couple Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) seem like nice enough people. Sure, they’re demonologists by trade, but Ed is hunky and dorky, the kind of dad other mothers and daughters might have a crush on. Lorraine is mysterious and empathetic, but also warm and nurturing.
Their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace, Captain Marvel) is remarkably well-adjusted, despite her parents’ occupation. Unfortunately, she’s become an outcast at school as word has gotten around about her folks’ trafficking in the supernatural.
Trusted babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) is like an older sister to Judy. She’s remarkably discreet about the weird stuff in the Warrens’ home, shy around the boy she likes and, for that endearing touch of vulnerability, suffers from asthma. Even nosy friend Daniela (Katie Sarife, Teen Spirit), who causes the story’s trouble by arousing all of the evil spirits trapped in the Warrens’ room of sinister artifacts, turns out to have a touching reason for doing so.
Naturally, the creepy-looking titular doll isn’t very appealing. Director Gary Dauberman, who wrote the previous two Annabelle films, knows that the demonically possessed doll’s mere appearance — with that decaying face and devious smile — is unsettling. After confiscating it, the Warrens should have kept that thing in an opaque box, not a transparent one. But what would a horror movie be without several questionable decisions by its main characters? It certainly wouldn’t be as fun as Annabelle Comes Home is.