The 5 Films of the Conjuring Universe — Ranked
James Wan has become a hero to the horror masses. This is mostly because he knows how to make a damn good fright flick. We knew he could when Dead Silence debuted in 2007. Initially going unnoticed, Dead Silence has since amassed a cult following, due to the success of Wan’s other films. He also started the Insidious franchise, which has reminded the world just how amazing Lin Shaye is. It is The Conjuring Universe, however, that has earned James Wan his ‘street cred’ with horror fans. When the first Conjuring slithered into theaters in 2013, it shocked the world with how scary it actually was. This was not the gore-fest of Saw films or found footage schlock or a killer in a hockey mask. This was an old-school, haunted house film. The Conjuring has spawned its own sequel, as well as two spin-offs, a sequel to that spin-off and shows no signs of slowing down. We are here to rank the 5 films of the Conjuring Universe so far, so bring a flashlight under the covers with you and come with us as we lead you through this terrifying world from director James Wan.
5) Annabelle (2014)
This is the weakest film on the list and, admittedly, it was pretty bad. Annabelle tells the story of how the demon doll, first seen in the original Conjuring film, came to be. In the story, a man named John has found a beautiful doll for his expectant wife. Unfortunately for the couple, a group of devil worshippers invade their home and launch a violent attack against them. Though ultimately defeated, they summon a demon that finds itself a new home in the vintage doll. Playtime, it seems, has just begun. The concept of Annabelle is nothing new, really. But we trusted the folks behind The Conjuring Universe. We shouldn’t have, at least this time, because Annabelle was neither clever nor scary. Full of jump scares and cardboard characters, Annabelle took everything that was great about its portrayal in The Conjuring and transformed itself into a typical teen horror movie. Luckily, the sequel would help rebuild whatever damage the original Annabelle caused.
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4) The Nun (2018)
As the most recent entry into the Conjuring Universe, The Nun could have been a terrifying yet honest portrayal of the Catholic Church and its numerous secrets. Instead, much like the original Annabelle, it appears to cater to its lowest common denominator- namely, people who will jump at anything. The backstory of the titular Nun is intriguing enough, but we can only get so spooked by a CGI Catholic School Girl. Also, we’re a little resentful that the makers of this film totally threw away the obvious connection between Taissa Farmiga, star of The Nun and her older sister Vera, who portrays Lorraine Warren in the main Conjuring storyline. It’s a total missed opportunity and acknowledging the connection, in ANY WAY, could have been this film’s saving grace. Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait for the sequel, but if Annabelle: Creation is any indication, the sequel to The Nun should be able to right its wrongs and get its sub-franchise back on the level of its predecessors.
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3) Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Now, this is what we’re talking about. This is how to make a killer demon doll movie. Annabelle: Creation changed up the backstory of the titular doll just a little bit, but somehow made it all make sense at the end of the film. Creation captured the mood and atmosphere of the original Conjuring, employing more subtle scares than loud noises and fake-outs. It also got the most important aspect of these kinds of movies right — we actually care about the characters. Annabelle: Creation started off on a bummer note and it did not relent until the lights came back on in the movie house. Sam Mullins and his wife, Esther, welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into the humungous farmhouse. What the nun (not that one) and the girls don’t realize is that lurking in that house is not the spirit of the Mullins’ daughter, but something purely and completely evil. Annabelle is not daddy’s little girl anymore. Now, she’s daddy’s little demon and there is hell to pay.
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2) The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Following the events of the original Conjuring, Ed and Lorraine Warren have taken a sabbatical to recharge their minds, bodies, and spirits. There’s no rest for the weary, however, as they are called to Enfield, a borough in northern London. There, a single mother and her four children are being terrorized by a malicious, malignant demon. As they’re wont to do, Ed and Lorraine try their best to help the family, despite their own personal sacrifices. Lorraine comes face-to-face with her greatest fear, the potential death of her true love. She also comes face-to-face with Valek, the Demon who would haunt her own film 2 years later. The Conjuring films, both of them, understand that while scares are fun, they won’t mean anything unless we care about the people to whom they’re happening. We care about the family, but we also care about Ed and Lorraine Warren. We want them to help others, but we don’t want them to die trying. The Conjuring 2 brings us closer to that inevitability than ever before, and it’s that fear of losing somebody we care about that is the scariest part of this movie. Because that’s the scariest part about real life, too.
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1) The Conjuring (2013)
The original Conjuring came at a time when it was most needed. Audiences were tired of found footage films and torture porn. None of that stuff was scary anymore. What scares most of us the monster hiding in the basement or the ghost under the bed. The thing that really scares us, however, is the idea of losing people we’re close to and that’s why The Conjuring was such a hit. The plot wasn’t anything new. A family moves into a new house, ghosts and demons show up, the family fights back, the end. It’s a simple plot. But the way that the Perron family and the Warren family are written makes us care about them. We don’t want anything bad to happen to any of them, so when bad things to happen, we are on the edge of our seats.
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