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November 1, 2020

A Binge too Far #13: Vera Farmiga duo (2019)

Warren (Vera Farmiga) in Annabelle Comes Home (2019)



Godzilla: King... (2019)

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters


The screenplay written by Michael Dougherty (who also directed) and Zach Shields (based upon the story that the duo penned with Max Borenstein) is about the new adventures of crypto-zoological agency Monarch and its battle against the titular monster and several other creatures from Toho’s golden years, including Rodan, Mothra, and the three-headed King Ghidorah. After the success of Godzilla (2014) the fans demanded that Japan’s super-famous monster to go to war against our favorite opponents, and Warner Bros. delivered just that.


The film is an epic extravaganza (running at over two hours long) featuring the best CGI money can buy (which is to be expected with a budget of $200 million), but like most good monster movies, the show is not exclusively about the monsters themselves (despite how spectacular those are here), but also about the importance of the human element. Sometimes such philosophical endeavors can be a bit taunting, but they work in spades within this context. However, the film does not get you to think solely about the sapiens’ stand and depth in the planet or in nature, but discuss is encouraged on the topic on whereas the creatures on display are actually animals or monsters.


You could simply not deliver such great drama without competent casting, and be assured that the film is featuring all your current genre film favorites, including Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown amongst several others. On the other hand, the film is also full of jump scares, and although many of them may be a bit predictable, they only add to the overall rollercoaster experience. Essentially, what we have here is a thinking man’s monster movie combined with pretty much everything a fan could possibly want to see, and that, by definition, makes perfection.


This is the third film in Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse filmic universe (I previously reviewed the others in this column), and it started development as soon as the first one was in theaters, with Edwards set to direct, although he was quickly replaced by Dougherty. It was shot from June 2017 to September of that same year. It was released theatrically in May 2019 and now enjoys a healthy life via a variety of home video platforms.


Annabelle Comes Home (2019) poster art

Annabelle Comes Home


Paranormal investigators Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga, see above) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson, no introduction needed) are about to leave their home for a few days, and they hire Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) to babysit their daughter Judy (television child actress Mckenna Grace). However, due to their curiosity, they enter the room of the haunted wonders that the Warrens keep in their house, one thing leads to another, and the titular demonic doll gets unleashed in order to spread terror. Yes, this time around it is not the Warrens that will fight evil, but rather their kid and her friends, in the vein of Home Alone (1990), or maybe not so much.


Surprisingly for a film in The Conjuring universe (2013 – ongoing) and produced by James Wan (and Peter Safran), this comes with not too many jump scares (which I guess is a disappointment for fans of this sort of thing), and opts mostly for atmosphere and slow build-up. It is the directing debut of Garry Dauberman (who also penned the screenplay), who made a name for himself writing many of your favorite recent horrors, such as It (2017). Made on a $32 million budget, it grossed $225.2 million, so you should expect even more ghosts.

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