In 2013, director James Wan debuted “The Conjuring” and the entire genre of horror was never the same again. This film was such a smash success, it would inspire an entire “The Conjuring” universe, which includes eight films thus far. This franchise is the second highest-grossing horror movie franchise of all time, behind “Godzilla,” which has 36 films in total. It trumps many other popular horror franchises when it comes to box office dollars including “Saw,” “Final Destination,” “Jaws,” “Alien,” “Halloween” and “Scream.” This franchise also shows no signs of slowing down, as there are two films currently in production— “The Crooked Man,” which is a spin-off of “The Conjuring 2” and an untitled sequel to “The Nun.”
Because there are so many films in this universe, ultimately, there’s a lot of comparison between them. Six different directors have made their mark on the franchise and the reception of these films is all over the map. Some will go down in horror history for the right reasons, while others will go down for the wrong reasons. Take a look at our ranking of all eight movies in “The Conjuring” universe in the gallery below, then let us know your favorite film from this franchise in the comments section on social media.
“The Curse of La Llorona” 2019
The reason why “The Curse of La Llorona” ranks so low on our list is because it’s barely tied to “The Conjuring Universe.” The only character from this horror universe that makes an appearance is Father Perez, who’d previously appeared in 2014’s “Annabelle.” Additionally, considering the source material of this being based on a Latin American folktale, this film seemed a bit misplaced for this universe and didn’t do the original story justice.
“The Nun” 2018
“The Nun” brought back the demon Valak, who’d we’d previously seen vanquished in “The Conjuring 2.” Although Taissa Farmiga always makes a compelling horror lead, this film lacked narrative and true spooks. There was a ton to play with in this concept, particularly the setting of a haunted convent, but the end result wasn’t executed in a manner that left us feeling satisfied and satiated.
This movie introduced audiences to Annabelle, who’d go on to become one of the biggest faces of “The Conjuring” universe. And while this film wasn’t a total let down, as it resulting in two sequels, it was pretty underwhelming. Many of the scares in this film felt predictable and in my opinion, it’s one of the least memorable films in the entire franchise.
“Annabelle Comes Home” 2019
While “Annabelle” felt a bit stale, “Annabelle Comes Home” was an original and engaging addition to the franchise. The focus on all the possessed oddities in the Warren’s collection was inspired and the performances by the young cast were absolutely stand out. Additionally, the pacing for this film was hugely improved and the comedic breaks were extremely refreshing. Although it wasn’t as scary as some of the other films, it’s definitely enjoyable for horror and non-horror fans alike.
“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” 2021
As it’s the newest addition to “The Conjuring” universe, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” is extremely fresh in my mind. And personally, it was an absolute joy to watch. The performances by the new cast members were extremely impressive and of course, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are always great to watch. There were a variety of scares in this movie that felt fresh and the elaboration on not only Lorraine Warren’s clairvoyance, but also on the backstory of the Warren’s marriage were exciting to see. Overall, this movie had me hopeful for future “The Conjuring” universe projects.
“The Conjuring 2” 2016
“The Conjuring 2” took this franchise international and brought to light a case that isn’t as familiar to audiences stateside. This film had great pacing, great scares and undeniably epic performances by the young cast. Additionally, it was the first film that showcased Valak and the introduction of a demon possessing a ghost was something truly new to horror. This fright surely got it right.
“Annabelle: Creation” 2017
There’s no debate that “Annabelle: Creation” was a vast improvement to the original “Annabelle” film. While “Annabelle” left us wanting more, “Annabelle: Creation” gave us everything that we could have asked for. This film tied up all the loose ends and made us truly terrified. If you haven’t yet explored any of the “Annabelle” movies, we’d highly recommend starting with this one and going from there.
“The Conjuring” 2013
When it comes to the top spot, the original film wins out. “The Conjuring” changed the course of horror and set an entire horror universe in motion. This film also truly made us fall in love with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of the iconic paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Plus, the scares (notably the clap scare) were some of the scariest in not only the franchise, but overall for horror films in the last two decades. If you’re a horror fan, this is an absolute essential watch, no questions asked.