The Conjuring universe - ranked!

April 10, 2020

If there's one thing the internet is lacking, it's blogs ranking films. So as a Conjuring fan - I thought it was high time I ranked them and helped give the internet that boost it so desperately needs.

 

So, here we go - The Conjuring universe films ranked, from worst to best. 

 

No. 7: The Nun

I think the less said about this film, the better. Taking what could have been the scariest horror monster for perhaps over a decade - and turning it into an Indiana Jones-esque quip filled, quality vacuum - left me a little irked. 

 

Despite the name of the film being "The Nun", the story of The Nun character's story isn't well revealed at all. It's basically like that of a badger - it just comes from a hole in the ground. Scary stuff... The Nun character also doesn't really make that much of an impact in this film, and the idea that she/it is behind the whole "nothing is as it seems" is lost in the mind numbing stupidity and over Hollywoodness of the film.

 

I haven't even got into the bad acting, weak plot, terrible dialogue and cheap scares. But you get the idea. It's last for a reason. 

 

No. 6: The Curse of La Llorona

A dubious entry, apparently the priest from Annabelle is in it - so therefore it's part of the universe. Other than that it bears no resemblance, mention or relation to the other films. it's a question the philosophers and scholars of tomorrow can argue about. 

 

This film starts off well, with a good level of intrigue, some interesting horror scenes and a well grounded backstory for the antagonist. I particularly liked that, in the beggining, you only see glimpses of "the baddie" - rather than it being shown straight away and therefore losing it's menace.

 

But unfortunately after a decent start, it goes down hill - and continues to plummet. I may be wrong, but it I have a feeling someone in Hollywood owns a script writing algorithm, and this film has the photocopier warm smell all over it. Terrible dialogue with one liners that would make the Expendables face palm, and a plot that's just a carbon copy of every other straight to DVD, Channel 5 (or Hallmark Channel for those in the USA) type paranormal film.

 

Despite its flaws, it starts well, and is better than The Nun (just) - so a worthy number 6. 

 

No. 5: Annabelle Comes Home

Although it's number 5 - I enjoyed this film. It's a good 'popcorn' film i.e. no thought required, just sit back and graze on your salted or sweetened calorie grenades and be entertained.

 

This film is just fun; lots of scares, not much thought or depth to it - but it's well made and there are some good horror elements. The characters on the whole aren't particularly great or memorable, but there is some backstory into at least one of them - and that aspect of it is done quite well.

 

The Pokemon like "gotta possess them all" works quite well to begin with, as we see some of the haunted items scaring the kids in the film. There are some really good bits in the artefact room and the kid's room - but also some of them don't play out that well. The Black Shuck bits are just daft (although I do like the Darkness song Black Shuck so I just went there in my mind). The bits with the coins ranges from good to bad - as does some of the acting. 

 

Over all it's quite good and much better than numbers 7 and 6 in this list. I'd imagine it won't be quite as good watching it at home, but will still be entertaining if done properly (at night, lights off, no distractions, sound up). 

 

No. 4: Annabelle

To be honest, I've been umming and erring about whether this is number 4 or number 5 - but I've settled with 4 and I'll explain why. 

 

Yes the main characters are annoying and unlikeable in this film - and yes the wise woman from the bookshop character isn't great - and perhaps the ending is a bit rubbish - but there are more good points in this than "Comes Home". 

 

First of all, this film is more measured in its approach, it seems more thought had gone into it. The initial home attack scenes are well done, coupled with how the story of the doll slowly building up its malevolence is crafted make the first half of this film a great mix of horror and story building. There are some great scenes in the flat/apartment - I think we all remember the door one, but also the lift in the basement, and the "floating" doll (which I only noticed the scary bit on the third watch! At home! On my own!). 

 

But the end isn't great (apart from the real Annabelle doll making a cameo) and there's a tiny bit of monster silliness I don't care for, but not as much as in no.5 on the list. If the characters (or maybe the actors) had been different and the end was stronger this could have been fighting for a medal position. But they're not, so it isn't. 

 

No. 3: Annabelle Creation

Easily the best acted film on the list so far (possibly out of all the universe films). An interesting setting, both in time and situation, coupled with strong characters, makes this film deeper than the others so far. If you took the horror elements out of this film, the situation and the characters within it could hold their own as a drama - which I think is a sign of a good film structure. 

 

The horror in this film is done in a more constrained manner than certainly Annabelle Comes Home - but still delivering on memorable scares: the chair lift, the sheet and under the stairs (again the details of which I only noticed watching at home! On my own!). Does the scarecrow go a bit far? Quite possibly yes, but it's not too over the top and just about keeps in tone with the rest of the film. 

A cheeky nod to the nun was welcome (at the time, before we knew what disappointment really was) - and the ending is brilliant! Really clever, well thought out and expertly delivered. Not much else to say really, it's a good solid film. It could have been a little bit scarier - and then it would have been brilliant. 

 

No. 2: The Conjuring 2

Sometimes I think this should be number 1 on the list, sometime number 3. There are horror elements in this film that I consider superb. And some bits that I think ruin it. 

 

The Valak dream sequence is the most scared I've been in a cinema, I think it's brilliantly made (the setting probably helped, just me and Mrs FEARter alone in a big empty art-deco cinema!). I was also really impressed with the blurry interview/seance scene - it brought something new and at first subtle, engrossing me in the film. Absolutely loved it. And let's not forget that it brought us The Nun character - who, at that time, was genuinely scary, haunting, daunting and such a strong monster they attempted to make a film out of it. 

 

And then there are proper jump scares (that flippin' TV scene made me jump mile, and then there's the tent in the hallway!), there are ghosts in the background (Insidious style), and a tension and inescapable feeling that builds and builds. The first two thirds of this film are - from a horror point of view - excellent. 

 

Where this film falls down is in the last third of the film - far too much CGI rubbish with the crooked man - too Walton's with the guitar singalong and the ending is a bit too Hollywood for me. But I think large parts of this film are brilliant, and in the first watch it's exciting, scary (including the credits - watch them on your own in the dark - I dare you) and it's entertaining. 

 

No.1 The Conjuring

No surprises here, it's a great film and deserves a place in the haunted wardrobe of horror classics. As a whole the story is compelling, it's well paced and well acted. The characters are likeable and relatable.

But the main reason why this film is number one is - of course - the horror. It's the movie birthplace of everyone's favourite doll (after Robert of course) Annabelle, who is terrifying in this; the clapping scene is now legendary; and I nearly ruined a perfectly good cinema seat at the wardrobe jump scare. 

 

But there are also subtle, clever chilling moments too - particularly in the basement, with the piano notes being one of my favourite bits out of all the films. This movie also introduced the world to the cinematic characters of Ed and Lorraine, who are (and I think I can speak on behalf of every person in the world ever when I say this) the best dynamic duo since The Dynamic Duo.

 

The sheet in the wind, the "she made me do it", the nothing behind the door - there are so many good parts in this film all sewn together by a good story - it's a modern classic. The other films in the list seem to pick different great elements of this film e.g. Creation - the strong story, Comes Home - the entertaining scares, Conjuring 2 - the horror and dread, Annabelle - the build up and mental anguish. But none of the other films have them all together in such a well rounded package. And that's why this film has spawned it's own universe, and that's why it's my deserved number one. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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