This post contains mild spoilers for The Conjuring universe.
Since its debut film in 2013, The Conjuring universe has dominated box offices and wormed its way into all of our dark, horror loving hearts. Following the exploits of (a very romanticized) Ed and Lorraine Warren, viewers have been brought into a world of demonic possession, witchcraft, and the occasional smidgeon of Catholic propaganda.
The world — originally brought to life by James Wan and Chad and Carey Hayes — has split off into multiple spinoffs, with the likes of The Crooked Man and an Untitled The Nun sequel reportedly still in the works. (We'll get The Crooked Man, but don't hold out hope for The Nun 2.) As is the case with any franchise, not all films are created equal. Here's our ranking for The Conjuring-verse films from worst to best.
If you'd rather watch The Conjuring movies in order, we've got you covered!
8. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
There is a curse of La Llorona. The tale is rooted in Venezuelan folklore, and is used to spook children from multiple Hispanic countries into behaving appropriately and not staying out after dark. Uttering her name still sends chills down certain friends' spines when we talk of her myth.
And yet her legend isn't used at all in The Curse of La Llorona. While this is largely due to the fact that the script initially had nothing to do with the Venezuelan specter, there's really no excuse for Michael Chaves' film to be as lackluster as it is. La Llorona deserved better, and any retcons to Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis' script did her no justice.
7. Annabelle (2014)
While the original Annabelle was merely a defunked Raggedy Anne doll, The Conjuring universe decided to spice things up a bit with the utterly terrifying depiction of the toy we see today. Her looks alone should be enough for a horror film to skate by on, but there's no such luck for Annabelle (2014). Though it was a huge box office success, the response to the film's cultist antics was mostly lackluster. All the charisma that made us fall in love with The Conjuring's fictional depiction of Ed and Lorraine Warren was missing from the script, leaving Annabelle's protagonists out to dry.
6. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Annabelle: Creation may find itself low on the ranking, but make no mistake — the film is a vast improvement over its predecessor. While it still doesn't quite hit the emotional sweet spot of James Wan's core offerings, it packs enough of a punch to make you care about its story in a way that Annabelle failed.
5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but if you can't do it well maybe you should just avoid it. Michael Chaves returned to direct after the incredible flop that was The Curse of La Llorona and proved that the problem really wasn't just the script. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) is at its best when it's focusing on the love that keeps the fictional Warrens strong, but even that feels like a cheep knockoff of what we see in the first two core films in the franchise. Meanwhile, the silliest trick the devil ever tried to play was attempting to make viewers believe that a jacked Patrick Wilson was a feeble old man with a heart condition.
4. The Nun (2018)
The best thing about rankings being subjective is getting to toss in curveballs like this one. While The Nun (2018) was largely hated by consumers and critics alike, I stand by the fact that it's a pretty decent entry into The Conjuring universe. Valak is certainly one of the most terrifying monsters created out of the franchise, and getting a chance to peak behind the curtain was more fun than expected. It's not a perfect film, to be sure, but it's an enjoyable enough side story to be worth folks' time.
3. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabella Comes Home (2019) was such a refreshing surprise that it still leaves me grinning when I think about it years later. It departs from its predecessors' quant roots and goes balls to the wall with a full on monster-mash. For all its fun, the smartest move for this spin-off was bringing it closer to home. Wilson and Farmiga return as the Warrens as they leave young Judy home with a babysitter. Turns out when your demonologist parents tell you not to play with the possessed doll in their mini-museum, you should probably listen!
2. The Conjuring (2013)
Enter the one that started it all — and one of the most profitable horror films in history! It all began with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga taking on the roles of Ed and Lorraine Warren in a little horror flick with a modest $20 million dollar budget. The rest, as they say, is history. Though the real Warrens were pretty terrible people, Wilson and Farmiga brought a kind of endearment to their roles. Viewers fell in love with them as much as they enjoyed the horrors that awaited in that farmhouse in Harrisville.
1. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Sometimes the second verse is better than the first. The Conjuring 2 (2016) remains one of the most impressive contemporary horror films both for its terrifying scares and sincere heart. James Wan and fellow writers Chad and Carey Hayes understand that true terror breaks through when you're also given time to fall in love with your protagonists. The spooks are top notch, but they cut deeper because the viewer's love for the Warrens and the Warrens' love for the people they're trying to save shines through so perfectly in a single scene. If you don't have Patrick Wilson singing Elvis to a room full of terrified children permanently burned into your brain, you may not have heart.
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