James Wans Conjuring Universe has captured the imagination of horror film fans with its stylish combination of edge-of-your-seat thrills and haunted house terror. With the eighth film in the series The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It now released, Top 10 Films takes a look at our favourites, ranking them in order to reveal the scariest of all!
Since The Conjuring, director Wans love letter to the haunted house movie, first arrived in 2013, the series has ridden the wave of contemporary paranormal horror movies that has been boosted by Wans other franchise (Insidious) and the box office hits of Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity, Split, The Invisible Man, et al).
As a result, horror, particularly the films contained within the Conjuring Universe, has made the genre big box office once again. Indeed, Conjurings principle trio of films featuring paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren has combined to earn over $800 million at the international box office.
The Conjuring Universe is currently made up of eight films: Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle Comes Home, The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona.
The films are inspired by some of the real-life paranormal investigations carried out by infamous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. In The Conjuring trilogy, we follow the two as they deal with specific cases while in the Annabelle films the stories focus on a demonic doll which the Warrens keep locked up and its interaction with various people over the years.
Combined, the eight films have earned over $2 billion at the box office, becoming huge profit-makers as a result of streamlined productions and limited budgets.
Here we are going to rank the Conjuring Universe films from worst to best which coincidentally also means least scary to scariest!
Dir. Corin Hardy
The film certainly makes the most of its $22 million budget as its looks great. Some of Alexandres graceful shots beautifully lit with a subtle, foreboding focus on leaving areas of the frame in complete darkness give this supernatural effort a stylistic push in the right direction. Only that here that direction is overseen byThe HallowfilmmakerCorin Hardywho, in this attempt to continueThe Conjuringsconnected universe, falls short in part because the script (byGary Dauberman) leaves a lot to be desired.
Daubermans not a hack. He was responsible for the excellent adaptation ofStephen KingsnovelIt. But here, for whatever reason, his work seems lazy. Theres a by-the-numbers formula to proceedings that leaves the film a long way behind some of 2018s best horror movies such as Hereditary.
Pandering to the box office is forgivable.The Nunaccomplished a huge profit in 2018 so it obviously did certain things right. But it isnt a horror film youre likely to return to. Its scares are superficial, its sense of fun forgettable, and its limited plot lacking dramatic interest.
Dir. Michael Chaves
Also known as The Curse of the Weeping Woman, this entry in the Conjuring Universe features probably the single worst piece of casting in the franchise. Whoever thought it was a good idea to hire Raymond Cruz for the role of Rafael Olvera, a former priest turned folk shaman, needs to give their head a good shake. Cruz lacks credibility in the role in fact, his performance is laughable at times which takes a lot away from the otherwise excellent Linda Cardellini who calls on Olveras help when a demonic presence begins attacking her children.
Dir. Gary Dauberman
What you get from theAnnabelleseries of spin-offsis streamlined horror. Theres less backstory, less character, less subtext, less Warrens in comparison toThe Conjuring. But thats not necessarily a bad thing.Previous effortshave been lean and mean; effective scary movies if ultimately forgettable. But here, withGary Daubermanmaking his directorial debut, theres too many elements either lacking or unnecessary to make it a worthy entry in this supernatural horror franchise.
Yet,Annabelle Comes Home, like its predecessors, made a killing at the box office. Theres no denying it has its moments. After all, for fans, whenever the Warrens trophy cabinet of haunted, possessed or ritualistic artefacts is opened up, theres not just a distinctive sense of unease but a palpable dread at what might happen. Its a shame that the films opening salvo which sees the eponymous husband and wife (Patrick WilsonandVera Farmigareprising their roles fromThe Conjuring) acquiring the malevolent doll for the first time is the films highlight. Its wonderfully shot (cinematographerMichael Burgesswork throughout is terrific) and satisfyingly unsettles but its a premature high-point that is never matched.
Dir. David F. Sandberg (2017)
Continuing to prequel the possessed dolls history,Annabelle: Creationtakes us further back, in effect a prequel to the prequel; an origins story to the origins story. Its 1943 and a dollmakers daughter is killed in a road accident. Jump forward 12 years and the couple decide to open their house to a bunch of orphaned girls and their carer; a decision that proves profoundly stupid but required as the conceit behind directorDavid F. Sandbergshorror set pieces.
Dir. Michael Chaves (2021)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It focuses once again on a real-life case from Ed and Lorraine Warrens archive, this time the 1981 murder trial ofArne Cheyenne Johnson. He became mainstream news when his attorneys, for the first time in US recorded history, blamed demonic possession to prove his innocence. The Warrens were drafted in to assist in Johnsons defence.
The second sequel toThe Conjuringelaborates on the case as the paranormal investigators are dragged into a dark tale of curses and witchcraft. Unlike the first two Conjuring films,The Devil Made Me Do Itsteps away from the haunted house motif to spread its wings into new territory. DirectorMichael Chaves, who madeThe Curse of La Llorona, never shies too far away from the next supernatural surprise but does find appealing momentum in the Warrens journey to piece together the clues about Johnsons fate.
Dir. John R. Leonetti (2014)
Annabelle is inspired by the possessed doll which briefly featured in The Conjuring, taking us back to the inanimate objects entry into the lives of a well-meaning family and the demonic events that witness it gain a malevolent consciousness.
In part because it is a spin-off but more so because it is directed by his favourite cinematographerJohn R. Leonetti,Annabelleis very much in the same paranormal movie mould as Wans commercial hits. While it is thin on plot and youll still be waiting to get to know the characters by the films closing credits, this is an appealing attempt at ghost train cinema. In other words, step onto the ride and await for something to jump out at you.
Dir. James Wan (2016)
The Conjuring 2 boasts moments of real terror that will thrill both casual horror fans and the more hardened aficionado. One sequence sees the ghost of an old man manifest itself asPatrick Wilsonsparanormal investigator Ed Warren tries to communicate with it. Wan allows the scene to play out largely in a single take with the ghostly manifestation remaining out of focus in the background. Its a delightfully effective way to raise the hairs on your neck.
Another sequence involvesVera Farmigaspsychic Lorraine Warren finding out that a painting might have a life of its own. The figure in the artwork by her husband depicts a deeply unsettling image of a ghostly nun with piercing yellow eyes imagine a 60-year-oldMarilyn Mansonauditioning forSister Act. It just goes to show what can be achieved from a simple image
Dir. James Wan (2013)
The inaugural Conjuring Universe film concerns the Perron family. After they move into an old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters, strange things begin happening. The clocks stop at 3.07am every night, birds fly kamikaze style into windows, and the dog mysteriously dies. While the children appear to endure the brunt of the nightly supernatural events, forcing the family to sleep downstairs all together for their own safety, it is mother Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) who begins to form unexplainable bruises on her body. In their desperation they reach out to the Warrens for help.
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Scary Movies: The Conjuring Universe All Films Ranked! - Top 10 Films
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero