Welcome to the Posts Named After Pop Songs series, in which I take something very tenuously linked to my life from the lyrics and run with it.

Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I , we’re like diamonds in the sky
You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
When you hold me, I’m alive
We’re like diamonds in the sky

I often think about that first line: “I choose to be happy”. I mean, I’m usually thinking about Rihanna as standard but that line has always resonated with me. Is it that easy then? Do we simply choose and then become it?

I think there might be something in this theory and it’s got me thinking. About whether I am a truly happy person, what makes me happy – and how much power I have within me just to be as happy as a clam (or a pig in shit, depending on how sophisticated I’m feeling). It’s a broad topic to be sure.

I think I’m happy generally but, like most people, I do let the small things rob me of joy sometimes. For instance I’m very irritable today not because of my hormones but because my work headphones kept getting tangled in my chair. This is something that could be easily fixed and yet, mixed with the Monday blues, I’ve been fuming.

I could and should just say to hell with annoyance, today is the best day of my life – and get the fuck on with it. That’s a choice. Because I’ve chosen not to do this, the day’s got worse and worse. The only good news is that I can have icecream for dinner and nobody will dare tell me off.

But there’s something there, isn’t there? I used to be a very depressed individual and ten years ago I wouldn’t have framed myself as a happy individual. I have been in dark and lonely places feeling as though I had nothing good to show for my life and nothing to look forward to. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done to get out of that and let a little sunshine in.

At a point in my life I could take no more of my own misery shit. It was time to sink or swim and thankfully my mediocre doggy paddle just about got me to land.

Life is in colour now and I love it. I have friends, an amazing family and I get to come home to the best person on the planet. I’m privileged in many ways and I can’t deny that. There are lots of reasons to smile and more reasons to be positive than to let tangled headphones fuck with my chi. So maybe I will drop the attitude and leave myself open. Sure, not everyday can be a skip through the posies but I can take a vow to at least try.

Maybe against all odds and in the face of the things I can’t control, I will stand up and say “Not today, Satan. Rihanna chooses happiness and so do I.”

His Highness the crown prince Dalai Lama agrees:

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. ~ Dalai Lama XIV

What do you think?

Secret Obsession, or: Why Learning Photoshop Could Come in Handy Later

This week’s pick and the last in our fuck-ups month has thrown up A LOT of questions.

Recuperating from trauma, Jennifer remains in danger as she returns to a life she doesn’t remember.

Brenda SongMike VogelDennis Haysbert

*Spoilers galore*

On one hand this film is quite the waste of space and I’ve seen it twice now. On the other, it’s exactly the kind of movie Jill and I enjoy snarking about. It’s pure unadulterated trash and I don’t regret any of it, even if I’m still scratching my head about some quite major plot points.

Jennifer Williams (Song) is hit by a car and injured horribly after she is chased by a mystery psychopath in the rain late one night. Her head injury is so severe that she doesn’t remember much about the night or the last few years of her life. This is a bit of a bummer since she’s just got married to attentive husband Russell (Mike Vogel). Via the power of a well organised photo system and some adorable anecdotes, Russell is able to fill in some of the blanks – and Jen is relieved to learn how happy they were/are.

After a brief stint in the hospital – or maybe not that brief since there’s time for a ‘healing’ montage – Jennifer is released. Russell takes her home to their lovely house in the mountains and everything is perfect. The thing is, it is kind of perfect, with Jennifer’s every want and need taken care of. Odd then that she isn’t quite as relaxed as she should be in her own home (well maybe not) but as we all would, she starts snooping to try and remember anything she can about her own life. Hint: I bet his password is CreepyBastard69.

There are also a couple of additional flies in the perfect life ointment, including sexy Detective Frank Page (Haysbert) who, as a seasoned member of the po-po can smell a rat a mile off. When he questions a couple of witnesses from Jennifer’s bad night, he starts to piece together a worrying picture… There’s no freaking way all is as it seems.

And who’s the (also quite fine) dark-haired bloke who keeps popping up at the police station, hospital, everywhere? The sinister music that plays with his every appearance would have us believe he knows more than he’s letting on about Jennifer’s accident. But what?

Meanwhile, Jen learns her parents were killed in a fire and that she quit her job before the wedding, so the lovebirds can start a family. When she ponders where her friends and her phone are, Russell tells her her phone was lost the night she was attacked but he’ll get her a new one. Later, he reminds her there’s no phone service in the mountains – and that is the exact moment I would have left his sorry arse. You know, if I wasn’t walking painfully on a broken leg, with no money, no car and severe amnesia.

I’ll come back to this later but it soon becomes clear that there’s something rotten about Russell (I clocked it in the first ten minute) and this is only reinforced when he goes after the mysterious dark-haired bloke and kills him. When Jennifer wakes in the night, she witnesses her beau burying something in the garden. Clue, love: he’s not tending to his prize vegetable patch.

I don’t know how many red flags this girl needs but she is vulnerable so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Little by little she witnesses chinks in Russell’s nice guy armor, not least when he has a go at her for not wanting to fuck him, the selfish bitch. It is hard to watch Jennifer be gas lit by this sleazy fuck – and I spent a good deal of time shouting at the screen.

Luckily, Frank is a dog with a bone and he’s busy beavering away behind the scenes, finding out exactly who Russell is. He also uncovers the mystery of what happened to Jennifer’s parents – and to her real husband. Frank, it turns out has a tragic backstory of his own (because of course he does) which makes him even more determined to rescue Jennifer.

There’s a very sad segment in which he carefully picks out a birthday gift for his daughter who went missing years previously. Honestly though, this is meant to add depth to his character but it was cliché and pretty unnecessary. Anywho – both Frank and Jen are now on the same page – all they’ve got to do is find each other, right?

Well, I’ll let you find out how that works out but there aren’t many surprises here. Twitter seems to be awash with people left terrified by this movie but it’s very by the numbers and not very scary. I bloody love dramas about stalkers though, may I also recommend My Teacher, My Obsession?

What doesn’t work for me is how opportunistic Russell is. I mean, *SPOILER* but Russell is the killer and not Jennifer’s husband, just a lowly work colleague with an all-encompassing crush. After killing Jen’s husband he went after the woman herself – only for her to get herself run over. Which opened up a whole new world of opportunity for him. What I don’t get is how quickly he put all the photos together to build a picture of their rich relationship history – those are some skills.

Also, dark-haired dude? His story arc comes to nothing. He’s a witness to the accident but what’s his motivation to follow Jen around and be all suspicious about Russell? He’s not even a friend from their previous lives! I don’t get it at all. (Perhaps my film bud will be able to tell me more).

Also, how long have Jennifer’s parents been lying there dead? Didn’t anyone miss them both?

Brenda Song isn’t terrible and she’s nice to look at but really Dennis Haysbert is the glue. The moral of the story is: trust no man and if you can, go home with the nice blonde nurse instead.

Film details:

Secret Obsession
Year: 2019
Director: Peter Sullivan
IMDB Rating: 4.3/10
My Rating: 2/5

What does my own secret obsession think of this straight to video nightmare? Would she take advantage of its memory loss or bury it six feet under? Find out here.

The Lion King

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Donald GloverBeyoncéSeth Rogen

The King Has Returned.

I really didn’t give a fuck about this remake. I’ve never been the most die-hard Disney fan anyway and The Lion King wasn’t one of my favourites. When it was announced, I didn’t feel excited and would happily have skipped it. However, my husband is obsessed with the original and well, the things we do for love.

I’m glad we did. For a moment there I was almost relegated to a different row, he was so worried I’d ruin it with my negative reaction. But I enjoyed myself, honestly and was very well-behaved.

The film is beautiful, I’d be lion if I said otherwise. The attention to detail is stunning, with lots of fun little side characters peppered throughout. The first half of the movie, in fact was delightful. Baby Simba is a peach and you’d have to be inhuman not to be moved a) by James Earl Jones‘ treacle toffee voice and b) the father/son relationship. It’s even more bittersweet as we all know what’s coming.

I cried a lot, even before ‘that scene’ which I expected to do, I’m a big baby. But I didn’t expect to be as affected. When I was a kid I had a genuine internal worry that I wasn’t ‘normal’ because my heartstrings never seemed to react in the way Disney wanted them to.

For me it started to unravel as soon as we meet grown up Simba (Glover). I’m not crazy about the voice choices for him or for adult Nala (Bey) – both artists I like, particularly Glove – and I hated their songs. Their rendition of Can You Feel the Love to Night is dreadful. Thank God for the genius of Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan) then. Rogan was born to play this role and everybody’s favourite characters really shine together. They also get the best songs.

Meanwhile, Rafiki and Scar are also very good. The latter in particular seems even more menacing and his hyena army are terrifying. I felt myself sympathising with Scar toward the end which is odd as there really is no good in him. Perhaps it’s just the concept of a sad, old lion being exiled from the pride that is hard to deal with.

All in all I had fun. I enjoyed it more than Beauty & the Beast and The Jungle Book. Lots of people have been mean about the lack of facial expressions on the animals and I get it, though what do you expect? If you make something realistic, you can’t then expect it to react like the cartoon does. Duh.

Now I’m quite excited for The Little Mermaid which has been stirring up some delicious controversy on the internet over its casting choices. And Mulan also looks pretty good.

Look, we don’t really need any of these movies remade but who am I to begrudge super fans more time with their faves? God knows we need as much joy and happiness as we can get in this confusing world.

Bring on Ursula, bitches. I’m holding out for Lizzo or Missy Elliott for the role.

Film details:

The Lion King
Year: 2019
Director: Jon Favreau
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
My Rating: 3/5

What are you watching?

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

Did I ever tell you about my handbag theory?

Ever since I started earning my own money aged 13, I’ve been into arm candy. Handbags are my THING – my porn. There is nothing sexier than a beautiful vintage handbag dangling on the arm of a gorgeous person. Sex and the City was all about the designer purse for me, the love lives of the girls secondary to Carrie’s sweet sweet collection of luxury perfection. The Fendi baguette, the Dior saddle bag, the Balenciaga – ooh la la!

I have lots of fond handbag memories and one very painful one. I inherited a vintage Adidas flight bag from my uncle when I was around 17 and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever owned. It was his as a teen and he’d kept it pristine all those years.

Alas my mother got sick of all the crap in her loft, including 5689 other bags of mine, and she slung the lot while I was backpacking around Australia. She did ask me if it was okay first and – feeling freshly zen from all the finding myself (and so not being about material possessions anymore) – I said yes. In the kerfuffle, the Adidas met an early demise and I’ve never got over the loss. Since then I have loved a lot of bags. The thing is – and this includes the Adidas – not one of them has been completely perfect, and this is where my thinking comes in.

The search for the perfect handbag is not unlike the Holy Grail – it might exist only in myth. But if it does, I imagine it really would contain the secret of eternal youth and all the miraculous powers and abundant happiness of legend. In historical descriptions, the HG has always been a dish, cup or a stone but there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be a vessel large enough to house 77 lip balms.

There’s a chance however, that what is perfect one day might change the next. Even if I do one day stumble across the bag of all my dreams, what’s to say it will remain ‘the one’ forever?*

Say I do find it and I don’t change my mind – is it akin to finally accepting oneself or discovering the meaning of life? Once I’ve found the Holy Grail Handbag, is that me done? And if that’s the case, do I even want to find it?

Maybe the hunt is the real point here, that’s where all the fun lies. With every new bag there’s a new beginning and I think this is the other main draw for me. Every new bag requires a fresh start. You clear out the old bag of all your shit and you transfer it into the new one – everything is shiny again.

Just get a bag and drop a dream in it, and you’ll be surprised what happens. ~ Charles Nelson Reilly

So, while I’m searching for the one, I don’t think I actually want to find it. I can’t imagine giving up the search, or settling down with one bag for the rest of my life**. Life’s so short and there are so many heavenly purses for me to love. Each and every one of them deserves its place in the sun, dangling from my stumpy white arm.

I bet you any money though that I’ll spend my whole life searching only to find out that the answer to all this has been within me the whole time. That it’s not what you carry all your stuff in, it’s about the stuff itself.

Go figure.

What’s your thing?

*Obviously we have bags for all occasions. There are situations that require a teeny tiny cross body or a sophisticated clutch – and summer is all about straw beach bags – when I say ‘the one’, I mean in relation to the every day essential

**If I had to name the closest I’ve ever come in the past to true love, I’d say my 90s Barbie backpack. I can’t remember what happened to it but I miss it every day

What Pride Means to Me

In the year 2000, my best friend and I moved from Bexhill-on-Sea to the big bad city – Brighton. We moved because we wanted more from life than that small retirement town could offer us. Mostly though, we moved because she was into girls and there weren’t many ‘out’ women back then (that we knew of anyway). So many times my friend would lament the fact that she wasn’t ‘normal’ and I would always wonder what normal was anyway.

Since then we’ve enjoyed many amazing Pride weekends, nights at Wild Fruit and one time a drag queen swung her handbag at my head and left a scar. Those were the glory days and solidified something within me – that I was part of something amazing, finally a city where I belonged.

Many of my friends are LGBT+ so Pride is incredibly important to them and to me. I’m older and more square than I used to be so don’t often venture to the park anymore but I’m always at the parade, which I love more than anything. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat. I want to live in a world that accepts everybody from all walks of life for who they are. Being part of this day makes me believe it can happen, even if we still have a long way to go.

As a white middle-aged heterosexual woman, I try to be a good ally – but I know there is so much more I can do to show my support and I’m learning how to do that every day.

I wrote this for a Pride work competition and thought I’d share it here.

What does Pride mean to you?

Party Hard, Die Young

Teens in swimwear being slaughtered willy-nilly? Groundbreaking.

It’s supposed to be the “party of their lives.” But for Julia and her friends their graduation trip turns into a horror trip, from which not everyone will return.

The last party of your life.

Ugh. I don’t know how 90 minutes of slasheriffic action can be so boring but here we are. This Austrian whodunnit/teen horror doesn’t reinvent the wheel or even do much to entertain but it sure has some creative deaths and a truly heartbreaking (and relevant) motive at the heart of it.

Best friends Julia (Elisabeth Wabitsch) and Jessica (Antonia Moretti) are on their way to Croatia to celebrate their graduation. Along with their mostly douche-y crew, the pair intend to party like it’s 1999 before embarking on their new life together in Vienna. Oh, except Julia has secretly accepted a place at uni in Munich and hasn’t told Jessica yet.

Off their tits on stolen drugs, the girls argue when Jessica accidentally learns the truth – courtesy of a loose lipped classmate – and the pair are separated. Julia winds up slumped in the woods and has a vision of her friend being attacked by a man in a smiley face mask. The next morning she sobers up and is relieved to find Jessica back where she belongs, blowing chunks in their hotel room en suite. Except, the girl isn’t Jessica but another friend and Jess is nowhere to be found.

Remembering her vision, Julia and a male friend go looking for Jessica in the woods – to no avail. Later one of the other girls receives a text from Jessica saying she’s gone off with some dude and is absolutely fine, providing she doesn’t run out of condoms. Safety first and all that. Julia isn’t exactly convinced though and when she receives a Snapchat photo of Jessica with a cross through her face, she knows something is rotten in Denmark. Sorry, Croatia.

One by one the group are separated by a mystery killer and are knocked off one by one in grotesque but fun ways.

As with many films, all the male characters look incredibly similar to the point that I could barely tell them apart. In the end it doesn’t really matter. At the climax, after the usual cat and mouse games, we learn who the killer is and why he’s doing all this. It turns out that Julia and her dickhead buddies hosted a party a few years back and something unforgivable was done to one of their classmates.

*TW: sexual assault/suicide*

I won’t sugar-coat it: their shy virgin friend was raped by one or more of the dudes and killed herself shortly afterwards. The mystery murderer then – no surprise – is… her pissed off big brother. You can’t really fault his desire for revenge but honestly, I just wish he’d been quicker to get to the point.

All these kids are the worst and they all have horrible names, like Cheesy and Bogi. The fact that they are awful teen archetypes means that we don’t give two hoots about them as they are bumped off. Julia as the potential final girl doesn’t work either as she’s as culpable for what happened as anyone and refuses to take responsibility. I definitely found myself rooting for Mr Smiley Face and I don’t think that was supposed to be the case.

So yeah, this isn’t the best. There are many false accusations thrown around, lots of very wrong conclusions jumped to and the festival organisers give zero fucks about bad publicity or human life. Perhaps that’s the most accurate thing about it.

This is by the by, but there’s also some curious treatment of the token fat characters that bugged me. A strange sideline sees unskinny Carmen (Chantal Pausch) win a bikini contest and get crowned queen (of what I’m not sure). I think it’s supposed to be empowering but Carmen is later torn down several times for being too cocky. It’s almost as if, as larger woman she is worth less and there should be grateful for her prize. Later, a chubby dude is also killed horribly and nobody cares or bothers to look for him. Yet again little care or respect for the chunkier kids.

The only thing I take from Party Hard, Die Young (apart from the exquisite title), is the wonderful knowledge that I never have to ‘party hard’ again if I don’t want to. Fuck being around that many people.

Film details:

Party Hard, Die Young
Year: 2018
Director: Dominik Hartl
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
My Rating: 2.5/5

What are you watching?

Juliet, Naked

Our so-called fuck up this week is incredibly easy to relate to so I probably like this film more than I would normally because of that. Also, Rose Byrne is such a gifted comic actor, I want to be her.

Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie (the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan) and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded, singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan’s musical obsession.

Chris O’DowdRose ByrneEthan Hawke

What if you met the man of your man’s dreams?


*Minor spoilers*

Annie (Byrne) still lives in her hometown and is the curator at the local museum. She lives with her long-term boyfriend Duncan (O’Dowd), even though the relationship is pretty threadbare. It isn’t helped by Duncan’s all-consuming obsession with the music of singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe (Hawke). Crowe’s last work was released 25 years ago but this doesn’t stop him running a dedicated fan site.

When a surprise package arrives at the couple’s home, Annie opens it first and discovers a collection of acoustic covers of Crowe’s seminal masterpiece, “Juliet”. The new work is called “Juliet, Naked”. Duncan is none-to-pleased to arrive home and find his girlfriend has already listened to it. He’s even less thrilled when she tears it apart. This leads to a huge argument and Annie leaves a negative review of the demo on his website.

When Annie later receives a response to her critique from someone purporting to be Tucker Crowe, things start to get interesting. He thanks her for her honesty and it soon becomes clear that it really is the man himself. The pair quickly begin a regular correspondence, updating each other on the intimate details of their lives. Annie ends up being very candid about her sadness at not being a mother, while Crowe shares his regrets about being a bad father to five kids, by four different mothers.

Meanwhile, Duncan bangs a teacher at his school and his relationship with Annie conveniently comes to an end. Round about the same time, Crowe – who lives in America to be near his youngest son, Jackson – has to travel to London for his daughter Lizzie (Ayoola Smart) who’s about to give birth to her first child. Of course he arranges to meet Annie in London but stands her up.

She forgives him when she learns he’s had a heart attack and the pair finally manage to meet, though the small hospital room in which she finds him is soon full of ex-wives and children. She stays for a beat then excuses herself, never to be seen again. Kidding. Crowe invites himself and Jackson to Annie’s to recuperate and get to know her better.

Which is lovely and all but how will she explain the shrine to Tucker Crowe that still lives in the house? Indeed, how will Duncan take his first – and subsequent – meetings with his idol?

It’s all very idyllic but what will become of the new couple when reality comes a-knocking and Crowe has to return to the US?

Well, this is a slow burning quite lovely little lament on regret and new beginnings. It may please you to note that Annie does what she wants to do finally – and follows her own dreams, regardless of other people’s demands on her. I think in the hands of someone else I would have been bored but the small-town seaside setting feels authentic and both Byrne and Hawke put in good, low-key performances. I cannot abide Chris O’Dowd if we’re being honest but he brings the infuriating character if Duncan to life by default.

While I enjoyed this, I don’t have that much to say about it. Not that much happens. I do however understand the pressure of waking up in your forties and being nowhere near the person you thought you would be. There’s a sadness and some hope in there somewhere, depending on how you look at it.

Film details:

Juliet, Naked
Year: 2018
Director: Jesse Peretz
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
My Rating: 4/5

What does my girl think of Juliet, Naked? Would she set up a very niche fan site for it or send it back to obscurity forever? Find out here.

Study Buddy

I’ve started my Wicca diploma and let me tell you, I am not a natural academic. I find studying super hard, not least because it is so easy to get distracted.

I often thank my lucky stars I grew up and went to school when I did. Had I had to contend with my phone and the pressures of social media, I’d never have got the handful of GCSEs that I did. Even then it was hard enough, I’m not a good exam taker and my ability to retain information has never been brilliant. That’s only gotten worse over the years.

And yet, this is why I want to do the course in the first place. In addition to learning to be a good, strong witch obviously. It’s about challenging myself. I think I’ve worked hard to believe myself that not all intellect can be measured by a piece of paper. Some of the brightest and most interesting people I know didn’t go to uni and that includes me. I might not be the sharpest tool but I know I have emotional intelligence and that counts in life. Sometimes more than anything.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to achieve academic things though and this online course might not even class as academia itself – but it matters to me.

So here I am. Even the first section of this diploma has not been easy. I’ve read it over several times and have still had to dip back in to answer the questions in my first assessment. I don’t want to do it by halves and it’s okay that it doesn’t come naturally or easily. Nothing worth having ever really does.

I think I’ll be okay once I set aside some proper study time. Plus, cute stationery. I’ve already got a witchy notebook and some nice pens, and the note-taking is coming along swimmingly. That’s the main thing, right? I’ll keep it up because it is very interesting and something I’ve always wanted to learn more about.

I’ll be my own best study buddy, you’ll see. I got this.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Academics, what’s your creative/study process?

Sun Shirking

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

I really wish I was someone who could relax into the Summer. What I wouldn’t give to be one of those people clearly born to be free and easy in the warmer months. They come alive as soon as the temperature rises, smile all the time and waft about in light fabrics, never complaining – only wishing for more heat, please. I am not one of these people. I don’t waft so much as flail about, red faced and crotchety, sweaty fringe and I against the world.

I am a child of the Autumn. Give me a cardigan and a cool breeze any day of the week and I’m deliriously happy. The sun has always been my nemesis and it’s not surprising. Gingers and the sun have long enjoyed a complex relationship. There may be fellow gingers who feel differently but I don’t know them. I would like to know their secrets though. The majority of us are practically vampiric, seeking shade as soon as the sun rises or we’ll burst into flames. I only have to glance out of a window at bright blue sky and I start to feel angsty.

Stepping out the door usually results in heat rash, sun burn or sun stroke – so I don’t really bother anymore. I’ll be indoors under the fan, enjoying the darkness thank you very much. I wish it were different. I wish I could be ethereal and sweat free more than anything but I know my limitations – and 34 degree heat is it.

There’s a certain level of shaming that happens when the weather turns nice. I get it, we have about two weeks of sun before it’s gone for another year, so why wouldn’t we make the most of it? But anyone not out and about tends to be told to get outside. Some of us are better left indoors or under a massive umbrella, doing Summer our way, believe me.

It’s just safer for everyone.

Annabelle Comes Home

While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

Vera FarmigaPatrick WilsonMckenna Grace


Welcome To The Home Of The Conjuring Universe.

*Minor spoilers*

This film is exactly what I expected it to be. I have a real fondness for the Conjuring Universe though and by default that means I can’t hate on it too much.

We begin in the company of Lorraine and Ed Warren (Farmiga & Wilson), driving home after picking up pesky Annabelle, a doll prone to being a conduit for evil (same TBH). As I would imagine with every trip the couple took together, it ends with some spooky shit. When everything creepy starts happening at once, they realise they must lock her up and throw away the key. They place Annabelle in a holy glass cabinet, have her blessed by a priest and leave her to gather dust all her ownsome for all eternity. Or so they plan.

It’s the doll, Ed. It’s a beacon for other spirits.

When the Warrens go away for the weekend – don’t go! – they entrust their precious daughter Judy (McKenna) to sensible babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). The pair plan to bake a cake for Judy’s upcoming birthday and enjoy being the most wholesome people on the street. Mary Ellen’s BFF Daniela (Katie Sarife) has other ideas however. Having heard about the Warrens and their supernatural antics, she decides to sneak into their dangerous oggly boggly artifacts room, where Annabelle also happens to reside…

Well, no prizes for guessing what follows, as all the evil nicely contained escapes into the house, causing havoc for our three ladies. Help is – kind of – on hand in the shape of lovesick Bob Palmeri (Michael Cimino), who lives on Judy’s street and has a massive crush on Mary Ellen. But all in all it’s a bad scene, man.

The thing is that there’s too much going on. There are some lovely effects and the film itself has a gorgeous vintage aesthetic but it’s very messy. I do enjoy the urban legend of The Ferryman but we have a haunted samurai, a werewolf and Annabelle’s ugly mug to contend with and its hard to keep up. Oh, there’s also a possessed wedding dress that causes anyone wearing it to become deadly violent, that’s kind of cool actually.

It really doesn’t have the oompf to carry it through and I hate the saccharine ending so much. ACH reads like a slightly more adult version of Goosebumps but nowhere near as charming. There’s also a very patronising smoke that announces the arrival of absolutely every spooky moment which kind of spoils it. Hope you like cheap thrills and jump scares, yo.

You need to give her a soul, dear. SHE WANTS A SOUL!

I do appreciate Daniela’s heartbreaking motivations (even though it’s all her stupid fault) – and there’s not one Noel Fielding sighting which I’m grateful for. It turns out, conversely, that I like The Nun more than I liked this which I’m surprised about. The setting was just more exciting and honestly, Judy gets on my tits. She’s just a bit wet for a Warren, though in fairness as she starts to display her own gift maybe she’ll shoulder her own spin off and that could be good. Who am I trying to kid? I wish I knew how to quit these movies!

You know what else is cool? This is a movie driven almost solely by three young women who don’t need anyone to rescue them. I should be ecstatic about that. I just wish Lorraine and Ed were around more.

Now to the million dollar question: when does the damn wind-up monkey get his standalone movie?

Film details:

Annabelle Comes Home
Year: 2019
Director: Gary Dauberman
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
My Rating: 3/5

What are you watching?