When it comes to scary movies, there’s been one horror universe that has been taking over the genre for nearly a decade now, and that is The Conjuring universe, tales of spooky ghost stories, haunting demons, and terrifying true experiences. From the moment The Conjuring was released in theaters, it opened a path for sequel after sequel, spinoff after spinoff, and has created a whole entire universe full of horror tales.
However, which one of these is the best? Is it The Conjuring films? Or The Annabelle films? Or something completely different? With eight films released in the franchise, today after a nice long binge of The Conjuring universe, we are going to rank them all and see where they stand amongst the horror universe.
8. The Curse Of La Llorona (2019)
Following an old Latin American folktale, The Curse of La Llorona tells the story of a mother in 1973 Los Angeles, who has to save her children from a malevolent spirit, who is trying to steal them from her.
Look, I grew up in a Latino family. I’ve read the horror story of La Llorona several times. When this film was first announced, I was excited to see it be brought to life on the big screen and in The Conjuring universe. But to be completely 100% honest – this movie was a letdown from start to finish. The original folktale has so much lore and potential, but The Curse of La Llorona only caters to fans of jump-scares and cheap terror – something no one likes in a horror film. Plus, it barely ties into The Conjuring films. It’s just bad.
7. Annabelle (2014)
In Annabelle, we go over the origin story of the doll featured originally in The Conjuring, which is named by Ed and Lorrain Warren, and how she got the reputation that this demonic doll is known for.
Annabelle was the first spin-off of The Conjuring due to how popular it became, and to be honest, it’s one of the worst. Like The Curse of La Llorona, the scares aren’t the best and the story could have been better expanded on, especially for a doll that is so well-known in the horror community now. But that’s why its successors are higher on this list – because those dive into the story, as we’ll see.
6. The Nun (2018)
Moving into more religious territory now, we look at The Nun, another spinoff of The Conjuring. A young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a pair with their own issues is sent to investigate her death, but discover the order’s unholy secrets
Again, I had so much hope for this film. I've always really enjoyed stories that involved religion in the horror world because there’s always so much you can do with demons, ghosts, and more. But The Nun falls flat in the regard. While I do like some of its scares more than the previous two on this list, it’s just not on par with what a movie like this should have been. When I think of a religious horror movie, I think of The Exorcist or The Omen, but this felt nothing like that.
5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
The third film in the actual The Conjuring franchise within this universe is titled The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. In this recent film, Ed and Lorraine Warren are witnessing an exorcism of a young boy, but the demon ends up entering the body of Arne Johnson, a man that used demonic possession as a defense during a murder trial in 1981.
While The Devil Made Me Do It is definitely the least-best The Conjuring film, it’s certainly a lot more entertaining than its predecessors. The idea of a court case driven by demonic possession is something that is so rare and strange that it turned this film into a very entertaining one, creating some great scares, eerie moments, and amazing acting from both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. While it’s not my favorite The Conjuring film, it’s a good one to still re-watch and leaves plenty of questions.
4. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home is the third film in the Annabelle franchise and the sequel to Annabelle. In this film, the Warrens have now locked Annabelle in their Artifacts Room, where she can no longer hurt anyone. However, she somehow awakens the evil within the room and sets its sights on their daughter, and her babysitter, and her friend, torturing them.
I think what makes this such a better sequel than the original Annabelle is that we really get to focus in on the Warrens. While a lot of these other films are focused on main characters that feel like they’re just there for shocks, we get to hear about the history of the Warrens, learning about true cases, and seeing their family and what it was like to live with all these scary items and presences in their home. Plus, Annabelle Comes Home is really the first Annabelle film I genuinely felt creeped out during. But one other Annabelle movie comes before this.
3. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Annabelle: Creation is the second film in the Annabelle franchise, and serves as a prequel to Annabelle. In this horror movie, a dollmaker and his wife lost their little girl twelve years ago, and decide to welcome in a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. But soon, they are all tortured by the dollmaker's possessed creation, Annabelle.
I loved Annabelle: Creation because we actually got a legit story in this one. We got to learn the lore of Annabelle, where she came from, and how she became the horror tale that she is now. While we all know that the real Annabelle is actually just an old Raggedy-Ann doll, Annabelle: Creation still uses those stories from the past and creates a truly frightful experience. Definitely the best Annabelle in the franchise thus far.
2. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
The sequel to the original film, The Conjuring 2, follows the story of the Warrens traveling to the United Kingdom to assist the Hodgson family, who are experiencing ghostly activity in their home in 1977, which later was referred to as the Enfield poltergeist.
The Conjuring 2 is a great continuation of the first film. There are some amazing scares, the same eerie and creepy plot, and again, the fabulous acting from both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, except this time we get to travel all the way across the world. I feel like that added aspect really makes this film tick because it’s like we know that this sort of haunting could happen anywhere, and still create horrible rippling effects on families' lives. However, of course, only one film can beat this.
1. The Conjuring (2013)
In the original The Conjuring, the Warrens attempt to help a family who is terrorized by a dark presence within their homes, where the terror only seems to grow more and more by the day.
There’s a reason why the original The Conjuring is first on this list. No one can quite beat this film. The story is fantastic, the atmosphere set perfectly, great acting performances – the movie is wonderful all-around. And for the first time in this franchise, I walked out of the theater of this one with a genuine sense of unease and felt myself checking my closets before I went to bed. It’s an awesomely scary movie, and one horror fans all need to see if they haven't.
While some of these may be some of the best horror movies ever, and some might not be, there’s no denying the impact The Conjuring franchise has had on the horror movie universe. With all these scary films, it gets me wondering about the upcoming horror movies coming out soon. Now if only they could make a film about The Crooked Man. That would be something I’d like to see.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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