Superhero movies and Netflix comedies dominated the last decade. But that doesn’t mean all other genres crashed and burned at the box office. Horror, for example, got a new poster boy with The Conjuring series. The James Wan directorial kickstarted a horror movement in 2013, demonstrating Wan’s mastery over the horror genre.
Before the Conjuring series, he directed Insidious, Insidious 2, and Saw. Wan then returned to direct The Conjuring 2, and has been associated with the series as a writer and producer ever since. When he’s not sending chills down our spines, he’s busy directing sprawling blockbusters like Furious 7 and Aquaman.
But today’s not about the mind-numbing action films. Today, we’re answering the question every horror fan finds themselves asking: ‘in what order should I watch the Conjuring series?’
The Conjuring movies primarily focus on the paranormal experts’ Ed and Lorraine Warren, as they take on one ghost at a time. The first one was a great success, leading to a series of Anabelle, Nun, and Conjuring movies set across centuries. But it wasn’t the first in its timeline.
So far, the series has 8 movies, with ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It‘ being the newest entrant this year. Here’s the chronological order of the Conjuring movies that should help you make sense of all the references in this shared universe.
1. The Nun (2018)
Before Ed and Lorraine Warren stepped up to fight evil spirits, a chilling incident occurred in 1950s Romania. Two nuns, in their search for an ancient relic, came across Valak the Defiler. The evil spirit used a nun’s body to continue her covert mission of terrorizing the church until one priest and novice nun took the fight to her. It’s a highly slick and fast-paced movie with genuine jump scares. Nun Valak became one of the most popular characters in the universe, and she came back haunting Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2.
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2. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
A couple of years after Valak kept Romania awake, South Carolina found its fear in a doll. When the house of a grieving couple who lost their young daughter turned into an orphanage, the young girls discovered the true meaning of fear. It’s the origin of a classic haunting doll story that connects with the bigger Conjuring-verse. Creation doesn’t resort to jumpscare; instead, it slowly builds a scary narrative where the house plays an equal part. Annabelle’s unassuming appearance works well against the scared girls in the orphanage as we get to know the story behind the cursed doll.
3. Annabelle (2014)
When you watch Annabelle knowing how the doll was created, it becomes even more enjoyable. Annabelle focuses on John and Mia, parents to a newborn Leah, as they unravel the mystery of the doll following their lives and the satanic cult that wants Leah’s body. Annabelle takes place in the late 60s with the orphan Annabelle from the prequel all grown up. It’s a twisted tale that keeps you on edge and works well as a spin-off to the main Conjuring world.
4. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring takes place in 1971, just a few years after Annabelle. The Perrons and their five daughters move into an old, spacious property in Rhode Island, but they are hardly welcome there. Soon, they start witnessing weird activities, forcing them to call the Warrens. The paranormal experts realize that the house is possessed by a witch who’s not ready to share her property and will do everything to make life hell for the residents. James Wan’s The Conjuring is an old-school suburban ghost story with twists, slow burns, and strong bonds between the characters.
5. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
A year after their life-altering experience in Rhode Island, Ed and Lorraine Warren have kept Annabelle locked away for good. But as they say, something has to go wrong in horror films, and so it does. The Warrens’ babysitter invites a friend over who accidentally frees the doll. And thus, it starts. A night of terror dominates the Warren household as the evil spirits awaken to exact their revenge. Annabelle Comes Home strongly concludes a trilogy spin-off that’s further extended with the next movie on the list.
6. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
The legend of the weeping woman makes a stop at the Conjuring-verse. The Curse of La Llorona is about a woman who prays to the La Llorona spirit to kill other kids to bring her sons back. La Llorona specializes in terrorizing families, so this is right up her street. The Mexican legend appears to be a standalone, periodical story of an evil spirit, but it’s connected to Annabelle. In the film, Father Perez briefly references his bout against the doll, which sets up a possibility of La Llorona’s return in future movies.
7. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
The Conjuring 2 follows up the Warrens as they make a pitstop at the Amityville murder scene. But the crux of the story follows Lorraine and her battle against her tormentor, nun Valak. The location shifts to Enfield, London, where they investigate a suburban house and its terrifying poltergeist. While Ed is busy finding ways to tame the spirit, Lorraine fights her own battle against Valak to protect Ed. The direct sequel to Conjuring plays by its strength thanks to powerful chemistry between Ed and Lorraine and its atmospheric horror, but it ultimately offers more action than its predecessor.
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8. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
The latest addition to the Conjuring universe was released just a few months back. The film jumps to 1981, when the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson in Connecticut made headlines all over America. Johnson famously claimed that the devil made him kill his landlord, and his further use of demons to prove his innocence attracted the Warrens. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a riveting courtroom drama mixed with signature horror that the franchise is known for. It’s slick, it’s tense, and the leads give you well-crafted performances once again.