The GBHBL Definitive Ranking of The Conjuring Universe Movies

Universes are all the rage these days, but horror has avoided billing series’, franchises and sequels in such a way. That was until New Line Cinema, the Safran Company, Atomic Monster Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures came along to create The Conjuring Universe.

Films that dramatize the ‘real-life’ cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. A married pair of paranormal investigators who have been involved in some high-profile cases of hauntings.

The universe began in 2013 with The Conjuring and was followed up with a sequel, The Conjuring 2 in 2016. In between those movies, the first spin-off came out in 2014 called Annabelle, based around the titular doll. It was followed by a sequel, Annabelle: Creation in 2017 and a third film in 2019 called Annabelle Comes Home.

Another spin-off called The Nun was released in 2018 which focused on the origins of the nun villain that first appeared in The Conjuring 2. As well as The Curse of La Llorona in 2019 and most recently, the third Conjuring movie called ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’.

The universe has been very successful and critical/commercial reception has been mostly high too. So this is just something that will continue to grow. We’ve seen all the movies released so far and have reviewed them on this website but as is the norm when a franchise has more than 5 films, it’s time to rank them. Definitively rank them and as per usual, these scores are based on our original review scores. If two films score the same, they will be ranked by what we would prefer to watch again.

So here it is… our definitive ranking of The Conjuring Universe.

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8. Annabelle (2014)
Our Score: 3/10

The opening section of The Conjuring details a case that the Warren’s took on concerning an apparent haunted/possessed doll. It was creepy & effective even if they tried a little too hard to make the doll scary looking (as if anyone would keeps such a thing about).

Such an opening was ripe to be expanded on & what we could have got was a scare-filled origin story filled with tension taking a slow build leading to a quality payoff. That’s what we could have got…

We went into Annabelle with incredibly low expectations based off its trailer that was jump-scare central, a mechanic in horror that only works when it’s used sparingly. Amazingly the movie managed to be worse than we could have ever expected.

One of the laziest haunted films in the last few years. The worst thing about Annabelle is its total lack of subtly.

You can read our full review here.

7. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
Our Score: 3/10

While it is another entry in The Conjuring Universe, albeit one with tenuous links rather than blatant links, The Curse of La Llorona had the chance to really try and be something different. As it isn’t linked to the main Conjuring series, it should have been an opportunity to try out some new ideas. To take the ‘ghostly goings-on’ repetitive concept in a different direction.

Sadly, The Curse of La Llorona does nothing new and aside from the Latin American folklore villain, could be mistaken for any haunting horror ever. If that wasn’t bad enough though, it has some of the most baffling writing choices seen in the series so far. Stuff that will have you questioning character choices and throwing your hands up in despair at yet another dumb development.

You can read our full review here.

6. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Our Score: 4/10

One bad film and one good film, which brings us to the third film in the series, Annabelle Comes Home.

Annabelle Comes Home is over the top and not in an entertaining way. Instead, what we have here are set-piece after set-piece as each evil spirit gets its moment to shine and rarely does it result in anything effective. If you’re hoping for something scary here, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Especially if you’ve seen any of these films before as there is nothing original at all to be found.

When the story does ramp up, it just turns into a groan-inducing experience. One where every new scare attempt is met with rolling eyes. Where every dangerous turn has next to no stakes and no-one ever feels like they are actually being threatened with death.

It all culminates in one of the worst endings of the whole Conjuring Universe to date. One that has the movie feel like a waste of time and makes characters like the Warrens look like idiots.

You can read our full review here.

5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
Our Score: 5/10

The Conjuring 3 had a solid basic concept, a good opening and Ed and Lorraine are likeable characters. So, what went wrong? Although they have a good concept, they just don’t do anything with it. The witch isn’t very scary or memorable and she has no development as a character. The scares just don’t hit right, they’re very cheap and easy to see coming. And on top of that, the ending is one of my least favourites next to the good ghost trope. The power of love defeats all, give me the sick bucket.

Overall, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a boring, run of the mill first date movie. Not too scary, not any real plot, with a romantic subplot to warm the heart.

You can read our fill review here.

4. The Nun (2018)
Our Score: 6/10

Exorcism and demon themed films are overdone, but we’re a sucker for them all the same.

The Nun does that just that, it entertains. But unfortunately, it did have its problems. We’re sure we all saw the trailers for The Nun before it came out, and therein lies the issue, it gave away most of its good scares. We knew what was coming so it lacked impact. Speaking of scares, although this film did have some great moments, we just didn’t find it scary enough.

It’s not all bad though. Taissa Farmiga performed well (and I’m not usually a fan of hers) and I enjoyed the reveal of the abbey, even if it was predictable. The supporting cast also performed well, even though their characters were very underdeveloped.

Overall, The Nun is entertaining, and the strongest moments certainly involve Valak which is what the whole movie is about so that’s no bad thing. Besides some predictability, dodgy CGI and lack of scares, we were was still entertained by The Nun.

You can read our full review here.

3. The Conjuring (2013)
Our Score: 7/10

While the story told in The Conjuring is nothing new, a typical haunted house/demonic possession, the film does a very good job of convincing you that you are watching a film that was made in the past and not watching a modern film about the past. It feels very accurately retro and James Wan manages to deliver the scares without coming across clichéd while also using some interesting cinematography to give some fresh perspective on certain previously used ideas. The film has genuine atmosphere and has fairly been described as creepy with the lighting and sound design used to great effect as an atmosphere builder and never as the source of the scare.

Good acting, good story, good sound and well directed. The only real complaint is that there is nothing new in terms of a horror story. We have seen it all many times before. It is, however, very well told.

You can read our full review here.

2. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Our Score: 8/10

We were pleasantly surprised by Annabelle: Creation. We’d go as far as to say that it’s a genuinely solid horror movie. Any movie that decides to cast child actors as a majority sets itself up for problems. Thankfully, we can happily say that as a whole the acting from the children in the film is seriously impressive.

Annabelle: Creation throws a bunch of different things at you with some landing successfully and others, not so much. It could have gone the simple, uninspired route but it doesn’t so we appreciate its attempt at creativity.

This is a horror movie at its core but I feel it manages to tell an interesting tale on top of that. It focuses somewhat on the bond between sisters. Also, how the loss of a child can affect two people and what they are willing to do to have them back.

You can read our full review here.

1. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Our Score: 8/10

We’re a huge fan of director James Wan. Anytime we see his named attached to something our expectations go through the roof. This man knows horror. He’s has proven many times that he has what it takes to make a genuinely scary movie. Wan tends to go for much more modest productions. Many of his films cost a small fraction of what others do. He focuses on fewer environments and uses makeup effects to create frightening antagonists with little use of CGI if any at all/ this is extremely rare these days. His ability to create a tense atmosphere is unrivalled with a slow and steady dread that creeps up on you over time.

The Conjuring 2 is a breath of fresh air quite honestly; it is a fantastic horror movie. It’s an engaging story from start to finish with exceptional acting from everyone involved. Not only does it tell a good story, but The Conjuring 2 manages to create a very creepy atmosphere. This is helped along by some very tense moments.

You can read our full review here.