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The Conjuring Universe: All 8 Movies Ranked From Worst to Best!

by Jonathan Sim 9 days ago in movie review

No spoilers!

In 2013, James Wan launched The Conjuring Universe with The Conjuring, a critically and commercially successful horror film. This movie launched two sequels, a spin-off trilogy about the Annabelle doll, and two other spin-offs.

Now that The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It has arrived in theaters and on HBO Max (click here for my review), I decided it would be a great time to rank every movie in one of the highest-grossing horror franchises ever made.

8. The Nun (2018)

The weakest film in The Conjuring Universe is easily The Nun, a horror movie where you can respect the attempts at increasing the mythology and going into the history of the villain of The Conjuring 2. However, the film falls completely flat due to its bland characters that have nothing interesting about them.

Furthermore, the film around them is very weak. The story has nothing to do besides having something scary happen and then give exposition. It’s a dull film with predictable jump scares and not a single memorable sequence. It fails at being a scary movie and is instead just a forgettable thriller.

7. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Honestly, the best way to describe this film is wasted potential. This movie based on the famous Latin-American folktale completely misses the mark by taking its source material and turning it into a generic haunted house movie with cheap jump scares and nothing memorable.

It feels less like a Conjuring movie and more like a spec script squeezed into the franchise through one character from Annabelle. It has nothing to do with any of the other films, and the film lacks any ingenuity in its ideas and execution.

6. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Compared to the rest of The Conjuring films, this movie sticks out like a sore thumb and watching it can feel about as painful as one. The Warrens are a welcome presence in any horror movie, but the idea to have a babysitter babysitting a kid while a creepy doll is in the house feels so overdone.

It feels like the tamest movie in the franchise, feeling like a teen hangout movie instead of a serious horror flick (despite its ludicrous R rating). It doesn’t offer many scares, and the plot relies on a character making some of the stupidest decisions possible.

5. Annabelle (2014)

Many have this movie much closer to the bottom of their Conjuring ranking. I don’t hate this film the way others do, as I think there are disturbing moments in the film and some good ideas sprinkled throughout the film with a few cool effects.

But the movie doesn’t have the atmosphere that Wan was able to capture, and most of the scares are so conventional that the film ends up with a direct-to-VOD B-movie vibe. It can be a bore at times, but it’s not the worst this franchise has given us.

4. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

This threequel follows the curse of being worse than the earlier two films, but it’s not a bad film. The opening sequence offers pretty frightening effects, and the final act has many great moments, especially with Ed and Lorraine’s emotional core and when we see how they met.

It has its moments, but Wan’s direction is sorely missed in this film that remains chock-full of cheap jump scares and not much personality to it. There is fun to be had with this movie, but you can see how it could have been much better.

3. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Easily the best movie in the Annabelle trilogy is Annabelle: Creation, a movie that takes the bland origin of the cursed doll from the first film and takes it in such a fascinating direction. The movie gives Annabelle a proper origin story, and the movie's finale enhances the original film.

It’s also the scariest film in the series, giving truly haunting imagery and shocking moments. David F. Sandberg is the only director who has been able to hold a candle to Wan, and the scares are really well-crafted. It’s a fun horror film that takes its protagonist in incredible directions.

2. The Conjuring (2013)

The film that started it all is the runner-up for my favorite movie in the franchise. This movie offers a ton of fun and scares with the haunted house, and I like how the film contains an emotional center with the family, which pays off really well at the end.

It has great mysteries at its center, and Wan helms this movie so well, keeping the movie exciting from start to finish. It sets up the world of the film in wonderful ways, and it has many really effective sequences.

1. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

One of the only horror sequels ever to exceed the original, this movie offers everything you want from a horror film. It’s another haunted house film, but it’s bigger and louder than the original film, doing something new and exciting at every turn.

The villain is probably the scariest of the franchise, and I love how they once again weave something very personal with the Warrens and how this is included in the final act. It’s tense, scary, and at its core, it’s a Christmas movie with excellent character moments.

And that’s my ranking!

movie review
Jonathan Sim
Jonathan Sim
Read next: I See You
Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

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