The horror movies of The Conjuring Universe definitely take themselves seriously. Sure, there are the occasional laughs featured in the six features we’ve seen thus far, but they are pretty few and far between, as the focus has clearly always been primarily on scares. This is a tradition that fans can expect to see continue soon in the upcoming Annabelle Comes Home, but according to writer/director Gary Dauberman, you may find yourself chuckling while watching the movie a bit more than you did with previous chapters in this franchise.
The tone of Annabelle Comes Homes was a subject that came up during an interview with Dauberman on the set of the film when it was in production late last year, and in discussing his approach the filmmaker revealed that the new release will be a bit different than the previous two Annabelle features (both of which he wrote). While he stressed that there will never be a point in the movie where a comedic beat is given preference over a scare, there are going to be some laughs mixed in with the screams during the experience:
It’s an interesting direction to take, and arguably a smart one. While it’s definitely true that too much comedy can undercut the more frightening aspects of a horror film, striking a proper balance can work wonders. After all, making an audience smile with a joke or silly situation can lure them into a false sense of security, and when their guard is down a proper scare can result in shrieks, spilled soda, and flung popcorn.
Furthermore, a proper application of laughs interspersed with shocks does wonders for the ride-like experience that a great horror movie can offer. Those are two emotions on opposite ends of the spectrum, and it can be a blast for crowds to constantly bounce back and forth between those extremes. A recent example of a film that did that brilliantly was Andres Muschietti’s IT – which Gary Dauberman also wrote.
Part of what allows Gary Dauberman to take this approach with Annabelle Comes Home is that the plot offers circumstances that make the laughs natural – something that he didn’t really have in the making of Annabelle or Annabelle: Creation. Specifically, there is a classic horror set up here, with the story centering on young Judy Warren (McKenna Grace) as she spends the night with a babysitter (Madison Iseman) and her babysitter’s best friend (Katie Sarife) in a house that starts to go a bit nuts thanks to the presence of Annabelle. As Dauberman explained, the personalities of the girls allowed him to try some lighter tones with the plot, while never breaking too far from the larger tone of The Conjuring Universe movies. Said the writer/director,
Annabelle Comes Home, which features the return of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Loraine Warren, will be hitting theaters everywhere as a big summer release this year – scheduled to go nationwide on June 28th. It’s one of our most anticipated releases of the season, so you can be sure that we’ll have a lot more for you to read about it here on CinemaBlend between now and when it comes out.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.