Top 8: The Conjuring Universe
I went through and watched all of the Conjuring Universe movies, almost fifteen hours of cinema, so you didn’t have to! I’m a huge fan of the movies that are actually Conjuring related, but unfortunately a lot of the movies in this Universe are only peripherally connected. Here there are, in worst-to-first order.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
The highest grossing of the entire Universe and undeniably the worst movie. The plot is a jumble from start to finish, very little of the movie makes any sense at all, and the oversaturation of Valak makes her less scary than she should be. The shoehorned Farmiga of it all is more obnoxious than necessary, and it looks like it is a pre-Industrial Revolution period piece. Just a terrible movie all around
This movie was a mess, largely because it’s so dreadfully boring. It edges out The Nun because Annabelle is actually creepy, though she was barely in the film, and there were some excellent Conjuring-style effects and ghosts. Beyond that, it made little to no sense, you never really cared about the characters, and there was no real resolution beyond “everybody left the house.” Avoid it, you don’t need it for the CU.
More of a true-crime than a Conjuring film, the only reason this one isn’t farther down the list is because Farmiga and Wilson are in it and they’re always fun to watch. The story was nonsense for the most part, it barely related to the rest of the Conjuring, and it essentially traded demons and ghosts for witches and boring nonsense. The CU could’ve done without this one. The producers of the series need to understand that you don’t need to make a movie every damn year, and sometimes less is more.
La Llorona is a fairly standard horror movie, which unfortunately puts it at #5 on this list. All of the acting is good, especially Linda Cardellini, and the ghost itself is pretty creepy. Filled with jumpscares, La Llorona would’ve done much better without its relation to the CU. And, besides a thirty second scene involving an Annabelle clip we’ve seen in another movie, it’s not related to the CU at all. Decent film, worth a watch, but only ranks in the top 5 because the three below it suck ass.
The original Annabelle movie is pretty good, and it’s also directly related to the franchise which makes it a true Conjuring film! Annabelle is scary, and there’s a bunch of “murder cult” stuff in the film that is legitimately creepy. The acting is really good, and the period-style scenery and wardrobe does a great job of putting you into 60’s America. While the other Conjuring films did as well, the conservatively dressed Warrens would’ve looked the same into the 90’s anyway. Annabelle is creepy, and it’s a great addition to the franchise.
I hesitated between number 2 and 3 on this list, and I went back and forth between this film and the one that ultimately ended up at #2. The Conjuring 2 is about the Enfield Haunting, which I personally am fascinated by, and it really tells the story of one of the most famous and documented hauntings in history. It definitely embellishes the Warren’s involvement, but that’s alright, these aren’t true stories per se anyway. The child actors are great in this, and there’s a ton of really scary scenes and imagery. While its all a tad too British for me, there are some great scares and we’re introduced to Valak as the Nun in one of the scariest scenes in the entire series (and in recent mainstream horror). Good film, and totally worth a place in the top 3.
This will be an unpopular pick, and I’m ok with that because the movie is kinda awesome. It’s basically a teenage horror movie that we all know and love, and there’s a metric fuckton of ghosts and ghouls running around. Madison Iseman is perfect in the film (as she is in everything,) and the other two children are excellent as well. While this movie does have the Warrens, they don’t play an integral part in most of the movie, and their collection of haunted and terrible objects are instead doing their best to take out the babysitter. Ghosts galore, a ton of jump scares, and a fantastic atmosphere lead to a flick that belongs at #2. If you don’t think so, give it another shot.
It had to be this one, right? The Conjuring (along with Insidious) ushered in a new set of slick atmospheric horror that has dominated the box office ever since. While that may not always be a good thing (and we’re starting to see some of that trend die out and lead to other subgenres,) The Conjuring is legitimately scary and has left a lasting impact on horror. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are excellent, and the possession scene in the basement is one of the scarier scenes in modern movie history. The Conjuring absolutely belongs on some of the best ever lists, and it was an instant classic from the moment it hit our screens. Unquestionably the best Conjuring movie and one that will be rewatched for years to come.