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Home > Every Film in The Conjuring Universe Ranked

Every Film in The Conjuring Universe Ranked

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked

Demon Nuns, Possessed Children, and Scary Good Times

The utter success of The Conjuring Universe began in 2013 with rave reviews, taking the box office for a ride through the paranormal files of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. With a fourth film on the way, the first three Conjuring films focus on the story of real-life paranormal investigators and the occult mysteries they encountered. The success of the franchise was enough to create several spin-offs based on the devils and demonic forces in the world of the Warrens.

Grossing over $2 billion worldwide, from The Conjuring to The Nun II, the never-ending struggle between the light and the dark is played against jump scares, dark basements, religious iconography, and good old exorcisms. The overall idea of love being the strongest form of good that can dispel the highest evil is the central theme of these movies. Lock your doors and light those candles; here’s every film in The Conjuring Universe ranked from worst to best!

8. Annabelle 

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked

At the top of the list is Annabelle; out of the three spin-offs centered around the possessed doll, this is the weakest of the trio. In 1967, John Form, a doctor and loving husband, purchased a doll for his wife Mia and their baby girl. Little did they know the horrifying past of the doll and the trouble it would cause them when their home was invaded by satanic cultists who wanted the doll. The movie doesn’t go too deep into the origins of Annabelle, but it does offer some lightweight scares and a story good for a spooky date night. 

The main characters don’t completely feel real, making it hard for audience members to invest in them. The husband is a perfect doctor, the wife is perfectly beautiful, and their new baby is just perfectly adorable, and that’s kind of that. There are a few too many throwaway jump scares that are not that scary but more predictable. This film is definitely geared toward horror fans who are just recently dipping their toe into the genre. John and Mia’s home becomes a cesspool for demonic activity when it’s revealed that the cultists summoned a demon who wants the soul of John and Mia’s daughter. The filmmaking panders to jump scares and wide shots that linger with the intent of being creepy. Overall, it is creepy but not enough to be called horrifying. There are a few moments in the film that were actually nail-biting when the entity behind Annabelle’s chaos is revealed. Annabelle is definitely for viewers who are just getting started in horror and want a movie that won’t challenge the viewer.

7. Annabelle Comes Home 

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked Annabelle Comes Home

The third Annabelle film takes place almost entirely inside one location. While this movie is not technically a Conjuring film, the plot focuses entirely on the main family of The Conjuring movies. In 1972, determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren lock the possessed doll in their room of occult and cursed artifacts in their house. But the doll awakens the room’s evil spirits, and it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the paranormal investigator’s 10-year-old Judy (McKenna Grave), her friend Daniela (Katie Sarife), and their babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Annabelle Comes Home beats the first Annabelle movie because its characters are way more fleshed out while the movie is set directly inside the Warrens’s home, ultimately raising the stakes because of Annabelle’s attempts to unleash a vault full of cursed evil objects gathered by Ed and Lorraine over the years as paranormal investigators.

Annabelle Comes Home saves the best parts for its third act inside the artifact room as Judy, Daniela, and Mary attempt to lock Annabelle back in her case while being pursued by demons who have been enthralled by the spirit-possessing doll. This movie is like watching a demonic version of Home Alone, while the demons try to snatch up the young protagonists as they are chased throughout the Warrens’ home. It’s an exciting finale with a lot of different monsters that are sinisterly designed, a grey-horned devil, and a suit of cursed samurai armor, to name just a few. 

6. The Nun 

The Conjuring Universe The Nun

Corin Hardy’s spinoff of The Conjuring 2 is a much darker approach to the films in this series. It’s a more visceral approach, but it could have been much more than the cash grab it comes off as. The story is a meandering excuse to have a seemingly unassuming nun and pit her against the token demon of The Conjuring 2, Valak, a demonic entity masquerading as a nun. Set in 1952, Europe, the background of Romania enshrouds the dark halls of a Christian convent of nuns who are being tormented by the demon nun. The Vatican opts to send a priest and a young nun to investigate. They enlist a French Canadian man hiding out in the local village to take them to the convent. But for a movie titled The Nun, Valak makes few appearances as the main trio, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), and Father Burke (Demian Bichir), kind of meander towards the ending where Valak has to make her final appearance. Until then, the audience is essentially just waiting for something to pop out at them because the story has so little bearing on what’s happening. 

The movies set in The Conjuring Universe lean into the Christian faith as being the weapon against the forces of evil; The Nun just barely touches the surface of the religious historical angle that could have really opened up the lore of the story. Visually, this movie is shot and composed well enough, and the production design is really engaging. It’s cool-looking, but it lacks substance, which is super disappointing because this movie could have been so much more.

5.  The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked The Devil Made Me Do It

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is undoubtedly the weakest film out of the three Conjuring movies. Also directed by Chaves, this time focusing on real-life events of the first court case ever to have someone plead not guilty by means of demonic possession. In 1981, the Warrens exorcised a demon from a young boy in Connecticut during the chilling exorcism of David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard). During the exorcism, the entity transfers into a young man who then goes on to murder his landlord, quickly progressing into a courtroom drama with the Warrens attempting to prove his innocence. 

The Conjuring 3 mixes up the formula with the antagonist being a living person, which is a first for the franchise. Farmiga and Wilson portray a deeper side of the Warrens’ marriage when Ed Warren suffers a heart attack that sticks with him for the rest of the film, ultimately raising the tension and adding an emotional layer to the movie. While this entry is not as scary as the first two movies, it’s still well-paced and tries something new with the formula.

4. The Nun II 

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked The Nun II

Director Michael Chaves helms this sequel-prequel with the continuing story of Sister Irene. it is now 1956 in France, where a priest is murdered, and evil seems to be spreading as Irene returns hot on the trail of Valak. This is a much deeper film than the first. The story is much more investing by diving into the background of Sister Irene and her hidden origin while also getting a taste of the history of the Christian religion. Valak’s kills are absolutely ruthless, which makes the characters feel expendable while also upping the stakes. There are plenty of high-tension moments created through great sound design and cinematography.

The film has a considerable amount of scares, awesome set pieces, and a new demonic entity that mixes up the scares so that the audience is not just watching out for a demonic nun. The scene with the magazine rack is possibly one of the best sequences in the entire franchise in terms of originality and creativity. The fates of the characters really feel in danger, and the audience is able to see the relationships between them shifting as new elements of the story are revealed. While there are a few jumps in the logic of some of the character’s decisions, The Nun II is still a surprisingly enjoyable and visually stunning treat for horror buffs.

3. Annabelle: Creation

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked Annabelle Creation 

Annabelle: Creation is an extremely well-made and entertaining sequel that is full of great scares for audiences who are die-hard fans of horror. It took its place as one of the earliest films in the Conjuring timeline in 1955. Two young girls, Janice (Talitha Bateman) and Linda (Lulu Wilson), are best friends living at an orphanage together. Their bond is tested when a mysterious presence begins attempting to destroy their friendship, tugging at the heartstrings of the audience because both of these orphans want to be adopted by the same family so they aren’t separated. The film allows the audience to breathe between the scary scenes, setting up the relatability of the characters for the audience.

The cinematography and sound design are used to build great jump scares that will keep audiences on the edge of their seat. The gore is subtly used alongside frightening imagery to create an explosive third act that does not disappoint at all. Annabelle: Creation is by far the best film out of the three movies centering around the cursed doll.

2. The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist 

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked The Enfield Poltergeist

After the first Conjuring film was released, audiences knew it would be tough to top what Director James Wan had done for the first film. But The Conjuring 2 would have taken the number one spot if not for the strength of the story of the first film. With that being said, The Conjuring 2 is visually and stylistically the best of the franchise. In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren traveled to Enfield, London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson, an overwhelmed single mother of four who tells the couple that something evil is in her home. Ed and Lorraine believe her story when the youngest daughter starts to show signs of demonic possession. As the Warrens try to help the besieged girl, they become the next targets of the malicious spirit.

The approach to craft in this film is simply unmatched; the acting is phenomenal, and the demons are terrifying. Introducing several new demonic characters, including the Nun and the Crooked Man. Creative set design and CGI animation effects make this one of the most satisfying rewatches in The Conjuring Universe. Color is utilized to illustrate the change in setting; the washed greens and greys of the cabin in the woods melodrama in the first film is replaced with an intense and colorful London battle between good and evil when Lorrain must face off against Valak, the nun. Piercingly cold blues and whites paint the cheerless London where it never stops raining. The Conjuring 2 is, without a doubt, one of the best horror films to have been made within the last decade.

1. The Conjuring 

The Conjuring Universe Films Ranked The Conjuring

At the top of the list as the best film in the franchise and one of the best modern horror films ever made. The Conjuring takes place in 1971; paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations begin with a few somber knocks, things start to escalate into horrifying events, especially after the Warrens discover the history of the land the Perrons are living on. 

Regardless of its classic haunted house setting, The Conjuring’s strengths lie in the storytelling and plot. Director James Wan’s understanding of tone and color is masterful. The editing and shot composition build tension to jump scares in a way that feels absolutely thrilling. While also drawing out the most frightening slow-burn scenes that the audience must face. The antagonist, an evil spirit from the days of the Salem witch trials, takes the classic trope of witches, an often unused element, and creates an original and horrifying villain. It’s simply exhilarating. The movie’s plot is completely fleshed out, and the subplots of Ed and Lorraine’s marriage, in contrast to the Perron family’s struggle to remain strong in the face of evil, builds to an explosive and emotional conclusion that absolutely could have left the film as a standalone story. 

Stream all the films in The Conjuring Universe on Prime Video. 

The Conjuring (2013) Official Warner Bros. Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Omid Rad is a freelance writer, movie lover and overall geek.

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.