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There is a point in Michael Chaves ’ frustrating and only sparsely scary “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” when you realize something: if you abandon your desire to watch a terrifying haunted house movie in the vein of James Wan ’s “ The Conjuring ” and settle for the investigative thriller that you have in front of you instead, you might have a decent time. Don’t worry, there's no way for you to miss that utterly pronounced scene, especially if you've watched a David Fincher movie or two. There is a creaky basement. A creepy old man leads the way to it. He might be the Zodiac killer (okay, not exactly, but something along those lines), and yet, someone who barely knows him follows him down all the same, just to gather some evidence around a series of murders.

Had that point never arrived, I could have more easily dismissed the third “The Conjuring” installment—a straight sequel chapter after a number of spin-offs like “ Annabelle ” and “ The Nun ” with varying degrees of smarts, skill and scares—as a horror movie that can’t be bothered to live up to its breathtaking origins. Again, this outing manages to operate as a mediocre police thriller to some degree; but one with too many suspects and incidents-within-harrowing incidents. A mysterious serial murder case emerges amid the film’s confusing tone and someone obsessed enough with its puzzling details has to voluntarily go down the rabbit hole in order to crack it.

But who the hell actually wants the new “The Conjuring” to be downgraded to a mere whodunit anyway, when its original predecessor is still one of the most brilliant and frightening horror movies of the 21 st century? If you’re not that person, this film’s array of hollow jump-scares and uninteresting secrets that culminate in short-lived thrills is unlikely to impress you, despite some successful effects and elegant camerawork by cinematographer Michael Burgess . Still, “ The Curse of La Llorona ” filmmaker Chaves gives it a shot, directing Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as they once again portray paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren wrapped up in a based-on-a-true-story case. The prologue here takes place in 1981, when the exorcism of the adolescent David Glatzel ( Julian Hilliard ) leaves Arne Johnson, a good-spirited young man in a loving relationship with David’s sister Debbie ( Sarah Catherine Hook ), haunted by the grip of an evil force. When Arne commits a horrific murder in the aftermath of the events that use one too many recognizable visual nods to “ The Exorcist ” (including a laughably obvious shot of a priest standing by a soft street lamp with a suitcase in hand), the Warrens slowly uncover similar crimes that took place in the area. So they embark on a quest to prove to Arne’s apprehensive lawyer that Arne was actually possessed while committing the crime. (His real-life case apparently marks the first time in the US where demonic possession was used as defense in a court case.)

Screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick throws in plenty of “The Conjuring” universe references into his script, including an inspired joke with Ed suggesting to introduce Arne’s skeptical lawyer to the cursed doll Annabelle to clear a few of her questions up. But ultimately, the story struggles in the hands of a strange on-and-off rhythm that almost feels episodic as the Warrens team up with the local police, knock on doors, venture out into the forest, crawl around basements, and collaborate with customary religious figures to follow the devil’s tracks. The basic idea gets overstuffed and overstretched, ultimately losing its clutch on the audience, especially when the plot ventures out to another similar murder case between two girlfriends and distances itself from the main event for long and dull stretches of time. So much that when Ed and Lorraine come to understand the witchcraft-y nature of their case, you might run out of reasons to care for their mission, or worse, forget what they were out there chasing to begin with. Things don’t improve much even after Eugenie Bondurant ’s chillingly witchy Occultist shows up.

There is no denying that Wilson and Farmiga have come to portray two of the most iconic figures of contemporary horror. That familiarity, down to the Warrens’ customary sculpted hairdos and old-fashioned, thoughtfully costume-designed clothes, is both comforting and transfixing—we somehow came to want to spend time with this duo and perhaps even to feel safe in their presence. But our goodwill and sense of nostalgia for the Warrens goes only so far in this third film. One almost wishes Chaves and Johnson-McGoldrick had not tried to reinvent the wheel, and instead just stuck with the franchise’s sophisticated simplicity and tried-and-true paranormal formula. Without a focal haunted house, this one just doesn’t feel like a film that belongs in “The Conjuring” universe.

In theaters and on HBO Max on June 4th, 2021. 

Tomris Laffly

Tomris Laffly

Tomris Laffly is a freelance film writer and critic based in New York. A member of the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), she regularly contributes to  RogerEbert.com , Variety and Time Out New York, with bylines in Filmmaker Magazine, Film Journal International, Vulture, The Playlist and The Wrap, among other outlets.

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Film Credits

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It movie poster

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

112 minutes

Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren

Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren

Ruairi O'Connor as Arne Cheyne Johnson

Sarah Catherine Hook as Debbie Glatzel

Julian Hilliard as David Glatzel

John Noble as Father Kastner

Charlene Amoia as Judy Glatzel

Steve Coulter as Father Gordon

  • Michael Chaves
  • David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

Writer (story)

Cinematographer.

  • Michael Burgess
  • Peter Gvozdas
  • Christian Wagner
  • Joseph Bishara

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The conjuring, common sense media reviewers.

conjuring movie review in english

Terrifying paranormal horror movie based on a true story.

The Conjuring Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

The characters take on terrifying challenges, work

The Warrens selflessly put themselves in harm's wa

Not much visible death or gore, but what is shown

A married couple is shown to be comfortable with o

Infrequent language includes one "s--t," plus the

A man is shown to be asleep at his desk with an un

Parents need to know that The Conjuring is a truly scary horror movie that's based on a true story about a haunted house, a demon possession, and an exorcism. It's more frightening than gory; no characters die (except a dog), and not much blood is shown, except during an intense demon-possession scene at the…

Positive Messages

The characters take on terrifying challenges, work together, solve problems, and triumph over the odds. They also show empathy for stressed characters in tense situations.

Positive Role Models

The Warrens selflessly put themselves in harm's way to help a family in need. Lorraine, in particular, is in physical danger, but doesn't hesitate to help. They're based on real-life paranormal investigators who apparently helped many people.

Violence & Scariness

Not much visible death or gore, but what is shown is terrifying, life-altering, and not for the faint of heart. The movie's most intense imagery comes from pure terror. The most disturbing sequences occur during the demon possession sequence. There's a great deal of screaming and fighting and some minor gore, such as a woman vomiting blood while wearing a sheet over her head (a red stain suddenly appears on the sheet). A demon scratches a cop's face, with some blood shown. One character (a dog) dies, and characters are sometimes battered around the room by demons.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

A married couple is shown to be comfortable with one another in the bedroom. There's some innuendo around their sex life, such as "christening the new house" and "do it again."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Infrequent language includes one "s--t," plus the occasional "goddamn," "damn," "oh my God," and "hell." A character says, "son of a --- " but doesn't finish the phrase.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is shown to be asleep at his desk with an unfinished glass of whisky nearby.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Conjuring is a truly scary horror movie that's based on a true story about a haunted house, a demon possession, and an exorcism. It's more frightening than gory; no characters die (except a dog), and not much blood is shown, except during an intense demon-possession scene at the climax. But even though it's mostly based on suggestion, the scary stuff is terrifying. Language includes one "s--t" and a few other words but is infrequent. Sex isn't an issue, other than that a married couple is shown to be comfortable with each other in the bedroom (with a little mild innuendo). One character is shown to have drunk some whisky and fallen asleep at his desk. The main characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, were real-life paranormal investigators. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Community Reviews

  • Parents say (59)
  • Kids say (318)

Based on 59 parent reviews

Terrifying theme

What's the story.

In THE CONJURING, in the early 1970s, the Perron family -- Roger ( Ron Livingston ), Carolyn ( Lili Taylor ), and their five daughters -- move into a new home in the Rhode Island countryside. Before long, they start encountering strange noises and smells, stopped clocks, slamming doors, and figures lurking in dark corners. So the Perrons approach paranormal investigators Lorraine ( Vera Farmiga ) and Ed Warren ( Patrick Wilson ) for help. The Warrens believe a demon is causing the trouble, and when Carolyn becomes possessed, they must get approval from the church for an exorcism. Unfortunately, Lorraine's clairvoyant abilities have taken quite a toll on her physical strength, and Ed worries that she might not survive their latest adventure.

Is It Any Good?

This horror film provides a treasure trove of typical haunting tricks that seems fresh and terrifying once again. Best known for co-creating Saw , expert horror director James Wan has happily advanced into more sophisticated tales with Insidious and now The Conjuring . Rather than gore, Wan goes for a more old-fashioned, character-based movie here. What's more, Wan plays with the "based on a true story" motif in interesting ways. Rather than remaining stuck on facts, he uses the story in more metaphysical ways, suggesting that both demons (and angels) could actually exist.

The movie's inspired music score is key: it's a collection of edgy, discordant tones that works beautifully with the images. Wan's choice of actors also adds a level of class. Taylor and Farmiga in particular are two of our finest current actresses, and they bring an intense sense of empathy to the screen. Wilson matches them, making it hard not to hope that a series of true-story horror movies based on the Warrens is in horror fans' future.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about The Conjuring 's violence and how it's presented. How much is actually shown? What's scarier -- lots of gore and blood, or "suggested" scares? Why?

What makes this movie scarier or less scary than other horror movies you've seen?

What do you think about the real-life aspects of the movie? Does the movie make you believe in ghosts and demons? Does it make you want to learn more about the Warrens?

Are the Warrens role models? How do they help out the Perron family?

What's the appeal of demon possession/exorcism movies? What do they have to say about the world?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : July 19, 2013
  • On DVD or streaming : October 22, 2013
  • Cast : Lili Taylor , Patrick Wilson , Vera Farmiga
  • Director : James Wan
  • Inclusion Information : Asian directors, Female actors
  • Studio : Warner Bros.
  • Genre : Horror
  • Run time : 112 minutes
  • MPAA rating : R
  • MPAA explanation : sequences of disturbing violence and terror
  • Last updated : September 28, 2023

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The Conjuring Review

Conjuring, The

02 Aug 2013

112 minutes

Conjuring, The

James Wan arrived on the horror scene in 2004 with the original Saw, but while the Jigsaw killer continued through six trap-happily tortuous sequels, Wan himself largely left gore behind in his own follow-up projects. Dead Silence channelled the ventriloquist dummy scares of the likes of Dead Of Night, The Twilight Zone and Magic, while Insidious riffed on the haunted house. But where the latter veered off into the loonier territory of further dimensions and string-puppet demons, The Conjuring is a more straight-ahead take on well-worn ghost story tropes. It’s at once eerily familiar and devastatingly effective. It would feel like Wan drawing a classy line under the horror phase of his career (he’s off to direct Fast & Furious 7 next) if Insidious: Chapter 2 were not due shortly afterwards.

“Based on a true story” (of course), The Conjuring involves real-life supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were involved in the Amityville saga (and were convinced it wasn’t a hoax). Like 1979’s The Amityville Horror and its many sequels, imitators and progenitors, Wan’s film sees a family (the Perrons; cry for them) moving into a new old home in which various historical traumas — child murders, witch trials — are manifesting as spooky phenomena. The Conjuring fills its exhausting run-time with a cauldron of stirred echoes from any number of its similarly-themed predecessors: a period 1970s setting; doors that open and close on their own; things under the bed; a dog that won’t enter the house; crawl spaces; a cellar; a doll; a music box; ghosts; possessions; exorcisms; secrets uncovered. Even the bird-strike set-piece has unfortunately already been seen this year, in the inferior Dark Skies (with which The Conjuring shares composer Joseph Bishara).

Yet rather than feeling stale, these ingredients in Wan’s hands combine into a classic, classical horror: you get the feeling that this must finally be the film Lili Taylor hoped Jan de Bont’s 1999 remake of The Haunting would be. Played absolutely straight, the performances are uniformly effective and affecting, whether from Taylor, Ron Livingston, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the couples on either side of the spectral divide (Wilson is also in both Insidiouses — Insidii?), or Mackenzie Foy, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Shanley Caswell and Kyla Deaver as the Perrons’ five beleaguered daughters. The supporting cast are strong too, down to the doll-bothered girlfriends who open the film with a largely unconnected prologue.

The Conjuring revels in great scares well placed: a witch on a wardrobe and a clapping game of hide-and-seek being particularly nerve-jangling examples. The paranormal activity here is about more than the occasional loud noise, however. It’s a cliché to call the house a character in the film, but suffice to say the production design is impeccable enough to render every nook and cranny both homely and dangerous. Regular Wan collaborator John R. Leonetti’s cinematography too is particularly worthy of mention, painting American Gothic textures on both interiors and exteriors, and rendering the difficult moments with a terrible beauty that only emphasises their ugliness. The slow reveal that there are different spirits with different agendas at work in the house is masterfully handled, and even the lurch into screaming exorcist territory feels like a natural crescendo rather than an onslaught of overwrought effects.

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The Conjuring – review

The craft – if not the art – of a great horror flick skitters around Saw creator James Wan's new popcorn-spiller. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life paranormal investigators who in the early 1970s helped the Perron family (led here by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) rid their Rhode Island pad of a demon, before clearing up at Amityville. The beast roves the house, as bashful about its hell-raising as Wan is about reeling off genre tropes: slamming doors, stopping clocks and smashing family photos.

The Conjuring was a huge hit in the US, perhaps because it plays to sceptics and believers alike; there's never any question that what we're seeing might be absurd or imaginary. The Warrens – religious folk concerned for their victims' souls (their church attendance is patchy) – are presented as dedicated professionals, rather than kooks, weirdos or (whisper it) hucksters. But the 70s setting, paired with the cheapish visual effects, helps the thing scramble along like a fleshed-out episode of Scooby Doo. Wan's shocks are predictable but – yikes! – are they scary.

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The Conjuring Universe, Ranked

Portrait of Emily Palmer Heller

For a franchise that spans three interconnected series, with six directors and seven screenwriters between nine movies, the Conjuring Universe’s lore is remarkably consistent. Annabelle wants souls, demons possess you by puking into your mouth, and no powers of darkness are stronger than the love between spooky mom and dad , Ed and Lorraine Warren. Less consistent, however, is the quality of the films.

The first film in the series, 2013’s The Conjuring , was directed by James Wan, whose straightforward-yet-stylish approach to horror is responsible for some of the most successful franchises in the genre’s history. (He’s also the creator of the Saw and Insidious series.) Wan left the director’s chair after helming The Conjuring 2 in 2016 but stayed on as a producer for the multiple follow-ups and spinoffs that followed. None come close to reaching the heights of Wan’s vision, but there are a few gems and a few real stinkers in the bunch. With the latest entry in the franchise, The Nun 2 , in theaters now, we’re ranking the Conjuring Universe from scary (bad) to scary (good).

9. The Nun (2018)

It’s disappointing that The Nun is so bad, because the premise has so much promise. The origin story of the evil spirit Valak from The Conjuring 2 , The Nun stars Taissa Farmiga (sister of Vera) as Irene, a young novitiate and clairvoyant summoned to a convent to investigate a fellow nun’s suicide. Given her similar psychic abilities and clear resemblance to her sister, it seemed obvious that Irene would turn out to be related to Lorraine Warren in some way. But nope! The Nun ends on a flashback to a scene from The Conjuring , revealing that Ed and Lorraine performed an exorcism on Maurice, the man who helped Irene defeat Valak but ended up getting secretly possessed in the process.

This strange stunt casting that wasn’t aside, The Nun has other issues. There is so much fun stuff you can do with a demon nun in a convent! There are lots of big, spooky spaces and the uniformity means anyone in a habit could be a threat. In fact, the most chilling images in The Nun are of sisters gathered together in an enclosed sanctuary or a black-robed figure ambling down a shadowy hallway. Is that Valak or just a nun going about her business? Unfortunately, director Corin Hardy doesn’t use that imagery to build any real tension, resulting in the biggest sin a horror movie can commit: It’s just not scary.

8. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Two horror films on the legend of La Llorona, the “weeping woman” from Mexican folklore who drowned her children in a jealous rage after discovering her husband’s affair, were released in 2019. One of them was a slow-burn, atmospheric meditation on the Guatemalan genocide that now sits in the Criterion Collection . The other was a slight-but-somehow-also-ham-fisted movie about a social worker named Anna (Linda Cardellini) who inadvertently allows a client’s children to be killed by La Llorona, an evil spirit who then comes after Anna’s family because of a bargain the mother made to swap Anna’s kids for her own. This one is the latter.

The social politics of these movies have never been great — the real-life Warrens were, by all accounts, pretty shitty people and not the gorgeous, benevolent forces portrayed by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson — but that’s easily dismissed in the name of movie magic. Building a story around a white family using a curandero to fend off a grieving Mexican mother on welfare is a pretty bad look. At least La Llorona is scary.

7. Annabelle (2014)

It’s a testament to the charisma of Patrick and Vera that the Conjuring Universe became the highest-grossing horror franchise of all time after this dud of a spinoff. There are a few fun scares (one particular set piece uses a familiar Wan trick of hiding jump scares behind swinging doors that is effective if a tad derivative) but Annabelle is bogged down by a postpartum anxiety metaphor that’s trying and failing to be a Rosemary’s Baby homage. The Conjuring has a ’70s supernatural-horror vibe so it makes some sense that the follow-up would go for a throwback as well. But where Wan borrows techniques from films like The Exorcist and Poltergeist to create his own style , director John R. Leonetti (Wan’s cinematographer since 2007’s Dead Silence ) doesn’t bring any new ideas to the table, simply leaving you wishing you were watching a better movie.

6. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

If there’s one thing this franchise loves, it’s putting Vera Farmiga in a ruffled blouse. If there’s one other thing this franchise loves, it’s referencing ’70s horror. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It does both in spades. The 2021 film, which opens with a direct homage to The Exorcist , is based on the 1982 trial of Arne Johnson, who was the first person in the U.S. to claim demonic possession as a defense. As the only entry in the main Conjuring series not to be directed by Wan, it’s the weakest of the three, but director Michael Chaves has a lot more to work with here than he did in The Curse of La Llorona .

Namely, Ed and Lorraine are here! The supernatural power of their chemistry casts a warm glow over everything around them, which is the key element to what makes the series work. Their love is presented as a talisman against the forces of evil, which The Devil Made Me Do It makes explicit in heavy-handed dialogue. It’s cheesy, but Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga sell it so well, with her stoic fragility playing off his gentle strength, that it still rings true.

5. The Nun 2 (2023)

Blessedly, the follow-up to The Nun improves on the original in every way. At its best, the Conjuring series plays like a sexy, Catholic Supernatural ; paranormal investigators look into reported demonic activity and eventually defeat the evil. It’s formulaic, but the formula works! The Nun 2 returns to that formula — Sister Irene is tasked with looking into a string of suicides that seem to be the handiwork of Valak — with a much better sense of pacing and tone than its predecessor. Where The Nun suffered from a complete and utter lack of tension, director Michael Chaves uses some classic horror standbys to build suspense. He holds on closed doors, slices through darkness with a flashlight beam, and there’s a particularly fun bit of business with a magazine stand which was shown in the trailer . His kills are also a bit more splatter-y than this franchise tends to get. It all works to make The Nun 2 scarier and, just as crucially, funner! A joke and a scare can serve the same purpose — punctuating tension — and the weaker entries in the franchise skip over its humor entirely.

However, The Nun 2 suffers from a dilemma befalling many a midquel: It’s boxed in by canon. The audience knows that Maurice will be possessed by Valak at least until he comes into contact with Ed and Lorraine. That dramatic irony works in Chaves’s favor when it comes to pulling off scares early in the film, but the ending doesn’t engage with that contradiction at all. The Conjuring films often have a final shot that indicates the evil is never really dead. But here, when it would make the most sense to do so, we get no such reveal. It’s a strange choice that makes it seem like the screenwriters just didn’t know what to do with the Conjuring Universe’s increasingly elaborate storylines.

4. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

This directorial debut of screenwriter Gary Dauberman comes closest to emulating James Wan’s style. It’s also the movie outside of the main Conjuring series that features the most Ed and Lorraine. (Patrick Wilson wears a little party hat, which automatically knocks it up a ranking.) Both of those elements make Annabelle Comes Home one of the strongest spinoffs in the franchise. Dauberman, who also wrote the script, is playing in the subgenre of babysitter horror a la Halloween or When a Stranger Calls . Ed and Lorraine are called to investigate a haunting, leaving their daughter, Judy, at home with her babysitter, Mary Ellen. While they’re away, Mary Ellen’s friend accidentally releases the demonic Annabelle in an attempt to contact her dead father. The three of them — plus Mary Ellen’s crush Bob — are then tormented by the spirits raised by Annabelle.

The best scenes in the movie are obviously Dauberman’s horror set-pieces, which feel like Wan ideas (complimentary). A spinning color wheel shows creepy shadows growing and moving across Judy’s bedroom wall. A TV seems to show events happening a few seconds in the future. One scene, featuring a ghost with silver dollars over its eyes, is nearly as good as the hide-and-clap scene in The Conjuring . The actors are all charming enough to get us through the necessary dialogue until we get to the next scare. Plus, did I mention Patrick Wilson wears a little party hat?

3. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Following in this franchise’s now-established tradition of the sequel being better than the original, Annabelle: Creation has the most defined style of the non-Wan films. It’s directed by David F. Sandberg, who is best known for the “Lights Out” short that terrified everyone who was on Facebook in 2014. (He later adapted it into a feature.) Sandberg takes this film a little grungier than the rest of the franchise, which matches the 1950s dust bowl setting. The film opens with a technique used to great effect in more prestige-y horror movies like The Quiet Place and Hereditary : the sudden death of a child. It’s effectively shocking, and sets a grim tone for the rest of the film, which takes place several years later when the girl’s father opens his home to a group of displaced orphans. Naturally, the orphans start being tormented by a demon, who was summoned after the girl’s parents prayed to whatever entity would bring their daughter back. (If you haven’t guessed by now, her name was Annabelle and the demon possessed one of her dolls.)

The “Lights Out” short made clear that Sandberg is very good at long, drawn-out scares. He uses those tricks throughout Annabelle: Creation , including one very creepy scene in which two girls hide under a blanket fort while a presence draws closer to them. Another set piece involving a malfunctioning chair lift is excruciatingly tense. Without Ed and Lorraine as our emotional anchor, though, there isn’t much to care about between the scares.

2. The Conjuring (2013)

The first film in the Conjuring Universe does an incredible job of introducing us to (the movie version of) the Warrens and their whole deal. It opens on the Annabelle case, with Ed and Lorraine explaining to some terrified roommates that the doll is possessed by a demon and extremely dangerous. Right away we see how seriously they take their work, but also how well they play off of each other. They’re charming, gracious, and beautiful. It’s no wonder that everyone, both onscreen and off, wants to hear them talk about demons!

The Perron family certainly wants to hear what they have to say, and they ask the Warrens to investigate their farmhouse, where they have been experiencing unexplained phenomena. Wan teases out those scares slowly, with a meandering handheld camera that lulls us into feeling like we’re just hanging out with the family. He shows Ed checking out the house’s framework and pipes, explaining that sometimes there are perfectly rational explanations for the things that go bump in the night. When the scares do hit, they’re perfectly calibrated. The hide-and-clap scene is probably the most iconic image in the franchise, and for good reason. It’s built up so well, with little moments of relief that ratchet right back up again.

But what makes The Conjuring perhaps the tightest film in the franchise is how it fits together thematically. The Warrens are, ultimately, tragic heroes, who see in the Perrons a life they want but cannot have because of their calling. Leaving their daughter and risking their lives to protect others isn’t an easy job, the movie posits, but someone’s gotta do it.

1. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The Conjuring ends by teasing the Warrens’ most famous case, the Amityville Horror, but The Conjuring 2 smartly doesn’t focus on that. We’ve already covered that case extensively, with over 20 increasingly ridiculous takes on the story set to film. Instead, The Conjuring 2 opens on that case much like The Conjuring did, with Annabelle. It’s a phenomenal scene, with Lorraine Warren walking through the house in a trance, acting out the brutal murders with an invisible shotgun. (This technique was used again, to lesser effect, in The Devil Made Me Do It .) The bulk of the action, however, concerns a lesser-known Warren haunting, which gives Wan more room for interpretation and surprise.

The sequel doubles down on everything that worked about The Conjuring . Ed and Lorraine are the beautiful, tragic saviors of a terrified family confronted with a deep evil, strengthened by the power of their love for each other. This time the devil’s in the U.K., and children and ghosts are both scarier and funnier with British accents. Wan’s eye for spooky set pieces is even sharper here; The Conjuring 2 boasts the most chilling scene in the franchise. When the spirit of an old man possessing a little girl makes everyone turn around before he’ll talk to them, Wan focuses his lens on Patrick Wilson’s face. He calmly asks questions while over his shoulder, just out of focus, the girl’s face contorts into a mask of contempt as the ghost speaks through her. Once it’s done, the girl spits out the water she’d been holding in her mouth. It’s a less memeable scene than hide-and-clap, but it’s a more apt symbol for the franchise in the way it illustrates the sinister banality of evil in the Conjuring Universe. The devil has rules, but they don’t make any sort of sense. Ed and Lorraine are our guides to that twisted code, and we couldn’t do it without them.

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conjuring movie review in english

  • DVD & Streaming

The Conjuring

  • Drama , Horror

Content Caution

conjuring movie review in english

In Theaters

  • July 19, 2013
  • Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren; Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren; Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron; Ron Livingston as Roger Perron; Shanley Caswell as Andrea; Hayley McFarland as Nancy; Joey King as Christine; Mackenzie Foy as Cindy; Kyla Deaver as April; Shannon Kook as Drew; John Brotherton as Brad; Sterling Jerins as Judy Warren

Home Release Date

  • October 22, 2013

Distributor

  • Warner Bros.

Movie Review

In 1971, the Perron family—husband, wife and five precious, precocious daughters—move into an ancient Rhode Island farmhouse. It’s a risky move: They sink their life’s savings into the place and Roger’s earnings as a truck driver barely cover the mortgage. But still it’s theirs , and that makes it special. Sure, the house has seen better days, but it’s got lots of space for a lively family and is full of rustic charm. The woodwork is exquisite. The surroundings are beautiful. And the former owners were kind enough to leave a few antiques behind: a massive wardrobe, a creepy jack-in-the-box, various pieces of furniture kept in a boarded-up cellar.

It’s not perfect, but it feels like it could be home someday. Maybe that’s why no one seemed too alarmed when Sadie, the family dog, refuses to go inside. It’s sad when they find the pooch dead the next morning, but hardly reason to call a priest. And when daughter Cindy starts sleepwalking again—bumping her forehead over and over into the doors of that massive wardrobe—they just think the big move has stirred up her old habits. And, yeah, some rooms smell like rotting meat in the middle of the night, but a good cleaning can take care of that.

But time goes on and the girls begin to see things that whisper and leer. When unseen hands clap in wardrobes and throw balls in cellars … when all the clocks stop at 3:07 a.m. … when no one can sleep because of all the screaming, that’s when you have to call in the experts.

And if the folks from PBS’ This Old House aren’t available to pound some nails into all those loose boards, why not bring in the demon-hunting Warrens?

Positive Elements

Who knew that living in a demon’s house could be a catalyst for family bonding time?

The Perrons seem like a pretty close-knit clan anyway. Most of the kids are initially pumped about their new abode, and rather than wasting time watching television, these girls like playing games together. A particular favorite: hide and clap (a game that feels very much like hide and seek, only the kids hiding have to clap three times if asked, giving the seeker a better chance to find them). Granted, the whole clapping shtick proves to be an effective scare tactic for the home’s wraithful resident, but how were the Perrons supposed to know? And when the demon really starts making life difficult, the family takes to spending the night all together, in one communal room. Clearly, this is a family that cares deeply for its members.

The Warrens care pretty deeply too. When Carolyn Perron asks the couple for their help, they come—despite the fact that psychic Lorraine Warren had a horrible experience at her last exorcism. Ed at first wants to keep Lorraine at a healthy distance from whatever’s going on in the Perron household, but Lorraine refuses. God brought them together for a reason, she says—and this could well be it.

“I don’t want to lose you,” Ed says.

“You won’t,” Lorraine answers. “Let’s finish this together.”

Spiritual Elements

At the end of the movie, a quote from Ed Warren pops up onscreen:

“The fairy tale is true. The devil does exist. God indeed exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.”

And that’s from the real Ed Warren. He and his wife, Lorraine, are indeed real people—devout Catholic demon hunters who’ve earned a measure of notoriety for their work. (They were also called in on a certain widely publicized case in Amityville, N.Y.) They practice their craft because of their faith, and the movie embraces their worldview from the get-go. As steeped in the occult as it is and as questionable as the overarching theology might be, The Conjuring is, essentially, a Christian story—shoving aside the spiritual waffling that we’ve seen in other recent exorcism flicks (like The Possession ). It insists that demons are real, and that the only protection we have from them is God.

When the Warrens agree to help the Perrons, Ed asks Roger if the kids have been baptized. “We’re not really a churchgoing family,” Roger admits.

“You might want to rethink that,” Ed says.

We’re told in the beginning that the Warrens work in unison with the Catholic Church, and that Lorraine is the only non-ordained exorcist out there. She’s also psychic, seeing spirits of the long-dead, images of the haunting demons and visions of things that might yet come to pass. The Warrens keep a room filled with knickknacks from their previous cases, most of which are said to contain demons or evil spirits (including a crucifix). When a reporter ask why not just destroy them, Ed says that it’s often better to keep an evil entity bottled up than release it into the world; he adds that they have a priest come to bless the place once a month. We see a video recording of an earlier exorcism, in which we hear a barely literate man speak fluent Latin; an inverted cross presses outward against the inside of his belly.

In the case of the Perrons, the Warrens supposedly discover that their place is haunted by Bathsheeba Sherman, a mortal-turned-demon whose mother was accused of witchcraft in Salem and who, in 1863, sacrificed her son to Satan shortly after he was born. (Lorraine says the sacrifice is the final perversion of God’s ultimate gift to women, that of childbirth). She then hanged herself and cursed the land, and in the 110 years since, a number of mysterious murders and suicides have happened in the area. Now, Bathsheeba’s modus operandi is to possess a mother and force her to kill her own kids. (Not good news for the Perrons.) One more perversion of note: When the demon knocks on the wall in a pattern of three, Ed says it’s mocking the Trinity.

Ed and Lorraine set a number of holy symbols around the house, hoping to trigger a reaction. When the demon does possess someone, Ed reads religious passages from a book and demands obedience from the evil spirit in the name of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The demon, eventually, obeys. Holy water is sprinkled, and the vial in which it’s in shatters.

Sexual Content

Carolyn asks Roger if he’s too tired to “christen” the new house. He’s not. (The camera cuts away before we see anything but cuddling.) The next morning, Carolyn finds a bruise on her leg and coyly asks what Roger did to her.

Lorraine asks Ed if he remembers what he said to her on their wedding night. “Can we do it again?” guesses Ed.

Violent Content

A participant in the exorcism has part of his cheek and throat ripped open, and it bleeds significantly. Birds smash into windows, killing themselves. A specter shows her slashed wrists to someone. Another seems about to stab her own boy. Children are threatened with knives and scissors. A girl is yanked around by her hair. Others are pulled by their feet. A possessed character spits blood (her face is covered with a sheet) and burns (her skin sizzles and mottles on her arms and face) when anyone tries to drag her outside. Someone weeps blood. Lorraine sees a vision of her own daughter, dead, floating in water. A corpse hangs from a tree.

By the standard of most R-rated scarefests, the content here is lighter than you might expect. There are no dismemberings, no beheadings, no truly graphic deaths. Though director James Wan presided over the outrageous content found in the first  Saw movie, he shows some restraint here … which still doesn’t mean the film’s A-OK for the faint of heart. “When we sent it [to MPAA], they gave us the R rating,” says producer Walter Hamada, as quoted by worstpreviews.com . “When we asked them why, they basically said, ‘It’s just so scary. [There are] no specific scenes or tone you could take out to get it PG-13.'”

Crude or Profane Language

One s-word. Six uses of “d‑‑n” (half the time paired with God’s name), one “h‑‑‑” and one “p‑‑‑.” God’s name is misused by itself another half-dozen times, and someone says “jeez.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Characters drink wine and whiskey.

Other Negative Elements

Possession here carries with it the side effect of vomiting blood. Bathsheeba throws up in someone’s mouth. A demon-filled doll commits acts of vandalism.

The Conjuring is a very effective fright flick—maybe the scariest movie I’ve ever reviewed, quite frankly. It’s also quite disturbing. We see parents threaten to murder their children here—and if you’re a parent yourself, that’s a hard thing to rub from your mind.

So perhaps that’s the thing we must land on with The Conjuring .

Many Christians will have issues with the film’s theology and how that theology is portrayed. Others may embrace the heart of the thing—its sincere declaration that there are forces beyond our real understanding and that no matter how fearsome those forces are, our faith in God can triumph over all.

But however one sees this movie spiritually, most moviegoers will be scared by what they see. Images of Bathsheeba clutching a knife or vomiting blood haunt long after the credits roll. The sounds of terrified girls screaming echo beyond the theater parking lot. This is dark stuff that leaves a darkness in the mind. And as we see in the movie’s message itself, darkness tends to cling.

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Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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Film Review: ‘The Conjuring’

A sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory.

By Justin Chang

Justin Chang

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The Conjuring Review

The mere sound of two hands clapping will have audiences begging for mercy in “ The Conjuring ,” a sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory. Dramatizing a little-known account from the 1970s case files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, director James Wan ‘s sixth and best feature is pull-out-the-stops horror filmmaking of a very sophisticated order, treating the story’s spiritual overtones with the utmost sincerity even as it playfully mines all manner of apparent cliches — creaky doors, cobwebbed cellars, toys you’d have to be just plain stupid to play with — for every last shiver of pleasure. What’s a moviegoer to do but join with the demons and applaud?

Having moved the New Line production up from February to a July 19 release date on the basis of through-the-roof test-screening reactions, Warner Bros. would appear to have an estimable mid-summer hit on its hands. That the MPAA opted to give the picture an R rating, claiming it was simply too scary for a PG-13 despite having met the basic content qualifications, should do little to hinder its tremendous word-of-mouth potential in theatrical and ancillary play.

While it owes an obvious debt to the likes of “The Exorcist,” “Poltergeist” and “ The Amityville Horror ” (itself inspired by the Warrens’ most famous case), this exuberantly creepy supernatural shocker is in many ways the film Wan has been working toward his whole career; it not only incorporates elements from his 2007 demon-doll thriller “Dead Silence” and his 2010 haunted-house saga “Insidious,” which felt like a warm-up exercise by comparison, but also taps into the sly, self-aware vein of humor that has long been one of Wan’s trademarks. And coming from the director who helped push indie horror toward ever more dubious torture-porn extremes with “Saw” 10 years ago, “The Conjuring” feels all the more remarkable for being a relatively gore-free piece of mainstream craftsmanship, the work of a B-movie maestro in full command of his studio-given resources.

A prologue quickly establishes the picture’s weird combo of straight-faced religiosity and genre-savvy irreverence as it introduces Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and his clairvoyant wife, Lorraine ( Vera Farmiga ), who have devoted their lives to studying, warding off and sometimes directly battling the forces of evil. Together these Connecticut-based demonologists project a down-to-earth folksiness that belies the seriousness of their convictions and the hair-raising intensity of their spiritual warfare. Their understanding of the occult world is so rigorous and methodical (they debunk several misconceptions early on) as to inspire immediate confidence in the scripting smarts of brothers Chad and Carey W. Hayes (who also collaborated on 2007’s less effective Bible-thumping thriller “The Reaping”).

The story was inspired by an alleged case of demonic possession so horrifying that the Warrens kept it under wraps for years, despite having been quite open about their work in their numerous books, lectures and TV appearances. It’s 1970 when Carolyn and Roger Perron ( Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) and their five daughters move into their dream home in Harrisville, R.I., only to swiftly realize they are not the sole inhabitants of this secluded lakeside farmhouse. The demonic manifestations seem fairly routine at first: doors opening and slamming of their own accord, an obligatory spot of animal cruelty, the girls feeling a strange presence tugging at them in their sleep, and dark bruises appearing on Carolyn’s legs and back. Yet it takes almost no time for “The Conjuring” to immerse the viewer in its spell, as it teases seemingly minor jolts into frissons of terror, and turns a simple game of hide-and-seek into a tour de force of sustained excitement.

Impressively, the film achieves its most startling effects through motion, not stasis. Wan’s command of horror technique isn’t just virtuosic; it’s borderline rhapsodic, playing the audience like Hitchcock’s proverbial piano (a literal example of which is shown collecting dust in the Perrons’ extremely frightening cellar). Cinematographer John R. Leonetti’s widescreen compositions are forever in flux: The handheld camera pursues the characters from room to room in long, patient tracking shots, shifting from one uneasy perspective to the next and prowling every inch of the house’s cavernous, ramshackle interiors (brilliantly conceived by production designer Julie Berghoff).

In terms of what he does and doesn’t show, Wan strikes an ideal balance between the power of suggestion and the satisfaction of a good, in-your-face scare, and he and editor Kirk Morri expertly modulate the film’s dramatic rhythms, allowing the audience an occasional breather between setpieces without losing the momentum. Crucially, the sense of danger only accelerates when Ed and Lorraine temporarily move in with the Perrons and seek out answers, delving into the house’s chilling history of witchcraft, possession, suicide and satanic ritual murder. Along with an investigative assistant (Shannon Kook) and a skeptical but helpful cop (John Brotherton), they even set up film cameras hoping to catch some glimpse of the apparitions at work, like something out of an analog prequel to the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.

Ultimately the sort of relentless, expertly tricked-out scarefest that leaves one feeling happily drained rather than deeply, permanently unsettled, the film nonetheless heightens its impact by playing the material utterly straight where it counts. The two lead actresses rep the major casting coups here, both maxing out their scream-queen potential without skimping on dramatic heft: Taylor gamely submits to all kinds of physical and emotional extremes as the loving wife and mother on whom the house exacts its most frightening toll, while Farmiga movingly conveys Lorraine’s astounding courage as well as the enormous sacrifices her sixth sense requires. She and Wilson (also in “Insidious”) achieve a rock-solid rapport as two eccentric but authoritative individuals who selflessly and unapologetically view their marriage as a force for good in the world.

Loosely approximating the mildly funky fashions and longish haircuts of the period, the film reinforces its ’70s orientation with stylized homemovie footage and the occasional use of a paranoid zoom lens. “Insidious” composer Joseph Bishara supplies another deranged symphony of screeching strings, working in nerve-shredding counterpoint to the film’s inventive soundscape of bumps, creaks, whispers and pauses.

Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival (Special Screenings), June 21, 2013. (Also in Edinburgh Film Festival — Night Moves.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 111 MIN.

  • Production: A Warner Bros. release of a New Line Cinema presentation of a Safran Co./Evergreen Media Group production. Produced by Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, Rob Cowan. Executive producers, Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter.
  • Crew: Directed by James Wan. Screenplay, Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes. Camera (Technicolor, widescreen), John R. Leonetti; editor, Kirk Morri; music, Joseph Bishara; production designer, Julie Berghoff; art director, Geoffrey S. Grimsman; set decorator, Sophie Neudorfer; costume designer, Kristin M. Burke; sound (Dolby Digital/Datasat/SDDS), Carl Rudisill; sound designer/supervising sound editor, Joe Dzuban; re-recording mixers, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker; special makeup effects, Fractured FX; special effects supervisor, David Beavis; visual effects supervisor, Ray McIntyre Jr.; visual effects, Pixel Magic; stunt coordinators, Joel Kramer, Norbert Phillips; assistant director, Albert Cho; casting, Anne McCarthy, Kellie Gesell.
  • With: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Joey King, Shanley Caswell, Haley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Sterling Jerins, Marion Guyot, Steve Coulter, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton.

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How to Watch The Conjuring Movies in Chronological Order

Here's how to marathon the conjuring-verse, including all the prequel films, in timeline order..

Matt Fowler Avatar

You'd think it would be enough for filmmaker James Wan (Furious 7, Aquaman) to have two hugely successful horror franchises under his belt — with Saw and Insidious (both co-created with writing partner Leigh Whannell). But then he also went and created The Conjuring, which since its debut in 2013 has produced eight films in total, grossing over $2 billion at the box office.

Starting as a 1970s ghost series, based on the real life investigations of married paranormal snoops Lorraine and Ed Warren, The Conjuring Universe has sprawled into a franchise that not only keeps track of the Warrens' demon-busting adventures, but also delves further into the haunted backstories of these cases with prequel installments set decades before the Warrens show up.

So are you looking to watch these Conjuring films as they were released - or do you want to absorb all the spookiness via chronological binge, kicking things off in 1950s Romania with The Nun? Whatever the case, you'll find both Conjuring Movies in Order lists below while we wait for The Conjuring 4 .

  • How to watch in chronological order
  • How to watch by release order

The Conjuring Movies in (Chronological) Order

Are you looking to watch The Conjuring films via chronological binge, kicking things off in 1950s Romania with The Nun? Here's the correct chrono-order to watch them in.

How Many The Conjuring Movies Are There?

There are 9 total movies set within The Conjuring universe — three Conjuring movies, three Annabelle movies, The Nun and The Nun 2, and The Curse of La Llorna. Two future movies have been confirmed: The Conjuring 4 (TBA) and The Crooked Man (TBA).

The Conjuring Movies in Chronological Order

1. the nun (2018).

conjuring movie review in english

Prequel frightfest The Nun takes place in 1952 Romania, and stars Demián Bichir and Taissa Farmiga (sister of franchise star Vera Farmiga) as a Roman Catholic priest and a nun uncovering an unholy secret involving Bonnie Aaron's evil Nun from The Conjuring 2.

Read our review of The Nun .

2. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

conjuring movie review in english

Taking place after The Nun, in 1955 California, Annabelle Creation was the fourth installment in the Conjuring Universe, but the second chronologically, depicting the origin of franchise breakout star -- Annabelle, the creep haunted dolll. It's the story of a story of a doll-maker who opens his home to six orphans and a nun, only to have an ancient evil released in his own house.

Read our review of Annabelle: Creation .

3. The Nun 2

conjuring movie review in english

The Nun 2 is currently in theaters, and although it takes place after the events of The Nun, it's actually the third movie in the timeline. The events of The Nun 2 take place in 1956, taking place four years after Sister Irene's first encounter with Valak and one year after the events of Annabelle: Creation.

Check out our guide on how to watch The Nun 2 for more information about the film.

4. Annabelle (2014)

conjuring movie review in english

The second film made in the Conjuring Universe, even before The Conjuring 2, was prequel Annabelle, taking place in 1967 in Southern California, 12 years after the official origin of the doll. Annabelle tells the story of a young doctor and his wife who bring the doll into their home (to reside amongst other scary-looking dolls) only to have it make their life a living hell.

Read our review of Annabelle .

5. The Conjuring (2013)

conjuring movie review in english

The movie that started it all, The Conjuring, starred Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as real-life paranormal investigators/ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren (whose exploits reportedly inspired The Amityville Horror), as they aid the besieged Perron family in 1971, on Rhode Island. Series creator James Wan directed this first outing, marking the third official blockbuster horror franchise he'd created.

Read our review of The Conjuring .

6. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

conjuring movie review in english

Next up is Annabelle Comes Home. Taking place only one year later in the story, in 1972, the Warrens' young daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), must contend with Annabelle and other demons who escape the Warrens’ artifact room while the couple is away. Conjuring Universe (and It: Chapter One and Two) writer Gary Dauberman makes his directorial debut here.

Read our review of Annabelle Comes Home .

7. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

conjuring movie review in english

Based on the Latin American folklore of La Llorona, this Conjuring Universe spinoff follows a mother in 1973 Los Angeles who must save her children from a malevolent spirit trying to steal them. Starring Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz, The Curse of La Llorona is the most detached and removed tale from the franchise's ongoing story, only featuring Tony Amendola's Father Perez from Annabelle as a connecting character.

Read our review of The Curse of La Llorona .

8. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

conjuring movie review in english

Based on the events of the Enfield Poltergeist in England, The Conjuring 2 brings back Lorraine and Ed Warren, now notrious from the Amityville case, as they help a family being haunted by a malevolent spirit in 1977. Whereas the first Conjuring movie brought about the Annabelle films, this one originally introduced The Nun, who would go on to receive her own prequel. James Wan also returned to direct.

Read our review of The Conjuring 2 .

9. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

conjuring movie review in english

The actual eighth film made in the franchise is also the eighth film you should watch if you're doing a chronological binge. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It brings us into the '80s with a ghoulish tale based on the real life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who claimed "demonic possession" after murdering his landlord. Lorraine and Ed Warren are drawn into the case after they'd apparently exorcised a demon out of a young boy's body... accidentally causing it to flee into Arne.

Read our review of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It .

How to Watch The Conjuring Movies by Release Date

If you're looking to watch all the movies in theatrical release order, the correct list is below:

  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • Annabelle (2014)
  • The Conjuring 2 (2016)
  • Annabelle: Creation (2017)
  • The Nun (2018)
  • The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
  • Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
  • The Nun 2 (2023)

How to Watch The Annabelle Movies in Order

Within The Conjuring Universe exists two separate film trilogies: The Conjuring and Annabelle. The narrative chronology of the Annabelle movies differs from their theatrical release order, so we've created this quick viewing guide to help you out.

Chronologically

  • Annabelle: Creation (1955)
  • Annabelle (1967)
  • Annabelle: Comes Home (1972)

By Release Date

  • Annabelle: Comes Home (2019)

Future of The Conjuring Movies

For those patiently waiting for more Conjuring films, have no fear, The Conjuring 4 is already in the works. However, this film could possibly be the last . Though not directly confirmed, James Wan did make mention of "potentially wrapping up" the Warrens' stories in an interview with Collider .

A TV series set in The Conjuring universe was also recently greenlit for the streaming service Max, and spinning out from the main Conjuring movies, fans also have The Nun 2 to look forward to, which is in theaters right now.

Looking to watch more of the best Horror movies ? Take a look at our guides to Netflix Horror and Horror movies on HBO Max for IGN's top picks.

Matt Fowler is a freelance entertainment writer/critic, covering TV news, reviews, interviews and features on IGN for 13+ years.

In This Article

Annabelle

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TAGGED AS: Horror

All Conjuring Universe Movies Ranked

The first Conjuring movie descended with one of the great marketing hooks: That the MPAA had slapped it was an R rating for simply being too scary. And, for once, the movie itself lived up to the marketing hype: With nary any blood or boobs, The Conjuring jammed audiences into a non-stop claustrophobic horror thrill ride, as Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated paranormal activity in the ’70s. A Certified Fresh rating (a first for director James Wan) helps in securing a sequel, a $300 million worldwide box office haul all but guarantees it – and the  Conjuring 2  was almost as scary as the original.

Years later, the Conjuring Universe is in full-swing, having now expanded into one direct sequel and many spinoffs that have whisked audiences to locales like London, Rome, and Mexico. Since then, we’ve seen a third sequel ( The Devil Made Me Do It) and a full expansion spin-offs with The Curse of La Llorona , and two times The Nun. Plenty of confess and keep you up at night, and with that we’re ranking all the Conjuring movies by Tomatometer, with Certified Fresh films first!

' sborder=

The Conjuring (2013) 86%

' sborder=

The Conjuring 2 (2016) 80%

' sborder=

Annabelle: Creation (2017) 70%

' sborder=

Annabelle Comes Home (2019) 64%

' sborder=

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) 55%

' sborder=

The Nun II (2023) 52%

' sborder=

The Curse of La Llorona (2019) 28%

' sborder=

Annabelle (2014) 28%

' sborder=

The Nun (2018) 24%

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The Conjuring 4 takes exciting step forward

The fourth instalment has found a director.

preview for The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It – Official Trailer (Warner Bros)

The new movie, which is being billed as the final instalment in the main franchise, will be directed by Michael Chaves (via The Hollywood Reporter ).

Officially titled The Conjuring: Last Rites , the film has been in the works since last year and has finally settled on a familiar director.

michael chaves on set of the conjuring 3 with patrick wilson and vera farmiga

Related: The Conjuring universe timeline including Annabelle and The Nun movies

Chaves previously worked within the Conjuring universe directing 2021's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It the third instalment in the franchise, as well as last year’s The Nun II .

Starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, the Conjuring movies are typically based on individual cases the pair worked on.

Following on from 2013's The Conjuring , 2016's The Conjuring 2 , and 2021's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It , the upcoming film is rumoured to be the fourth and final outing.

vera farmiga and patrick wilson in the conjuring 3

Related: 55 best horror movies that are actually good and terrifying

Penning the screenplay for Conjuring 4 is David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote The Conjuring 3 with franchise creator James Wan. Wan will produce alongside Peter Safran.

Back in January 2023, Wan opened up about the future of the film series , saying work was underway on the fourth movie while asking fans to remain patient.

"With the Conjuring films, we are very precious about [them]. And so we kind of want to just take our time to make sure we get it right... the emotion of the Warren stories we want to tell. We just want to make sure that it's the right thing, the right story that we're telling," he told Collider .

Elsewhere, Farmiga and Wilson expressed interest in reprising their roles . "Oh my God, I'd love to [continue]," Farmiga told Empire .

"We constantly want to push these characters. I would like to – for no other reason than I would want to keep playing opposite Vera," added Wilson.

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Reporter, Digital Spy

Harriet is a freelance news writer specialising in TV and movies at Digital Spy . 

A horror enthusiast, she joined Digital Spy after working on her own horror website, reviewing films and focusing largely on feminism in the genre. 

In her spare time, Harriet paints and produces mixed-media art. She graduated from the University of Kingston with a BA in fine art, where she specialised in painting. She also has an MA in journalism from Birkbeck University.

.css-15yqwdi:before{top:0;width:100%;height:0.25rem;content:'';position:absolute;background-image:linear-gradient(to right,#51B3E0,#51B3E0 2.5rem,#E5ADAE 2.5rem,#E5ADAE 5rem,#E5E54F 5rem,#E5E54F 7.5rem,black 7.5rem,black);} The Conjuring

taissa farmiga, storm reid, nun ii

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ruairi o'connor as arne cheyenne jackson in the conjuring 3 the devil made me do it

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The Conjuring 4: All you need to know

The Conjuring 4 will conclude the series with the return of a familiar face from the franchise

Looks like The Devil Made Him Do It… again

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in The Nun 2

The Conjuring 4 has taken another step into development by welcoming back franchise favorite director Michael Chaves. 

In an exclusive with The Hollywood Reporter , it has been confirmed that Chaves, who also directed The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and The Nun 2 , will direct The Conjuring 4. 

As well as Chaves, franchise favorites Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga will return once more to play Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Conjuring 4, officially titled The Conjuring: Last Rites, will see the franchise once again follow the ghostly adventures of the paranormal investigators, who we have seen face up to demons, witches, and beldams, all based on real-life exorcism cases covered by the late Warrens. 

The Conjuring universe also welcomes back screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote The Conjuring 3, and creator James Wan who serves as producer with Peter Safran.

Although no plotline has been released at this time, it is expected that Last Rites will be based on yet another Warren case. The first Conjuring flick was inspired by The Perron Family Haunting, The Conjuring 2 by the Enfield Poltergeist, and The Devil Made Me Do It was famously inspired by the 1981 case of Arne Johnson that changed American law forever. Some have speculated whether Warren's most famous case, which went on to inspire horror movie The Haunting in Connecticut, will be next on the slate. 

Whatever case the flick is inspired by, one thing is for sure, The Conjuring 4 will be the last movie in the series, as creator Wan told Collider , "We get it right and to make sure the emotion of the Warren stories that we want to tell, and moving into, and potentially wrapping up, we just want to make sure that it's the right thing, the right story that we're telling.”

The Conjuring: Last Rites does not have a release date at this time. For more, check out our ranking of The Conjuring movies .

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I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for SFX and Total Film online. I have a Bachelors Degree in Media Production and Journalism and a Masters in Fashion Journalism from UAL. In the past I have written for local UK and US newspaper outlets such as the Portland Tribune and York Mix and worked in communications, before focusing on film and entertainment writing. I am a HUGE horror fan and in 2022 I created my very own single issue feminist horror magazine.  

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The Conjuring 4 Finds Its Director in a Franchise Veteran

It's apparently the final film in the mainline the conjuring series..

Alex Stedman

The Conjuring 4 is resurrecting one of its old creative choices in its possible pick for director.

According to THR , Michael Chaves is in negotiations to direct the movie, which is reportedly being billed as the final film in the main Conjuring series. To that end, Warner Bros. said at last year's Cinemacon that it would be titled The Conjuring: Last Rites , although THR reports that the movie is simply being referred to as The Conjuring 4 at the moment.

Chaves is no stranger the Conjuring universe, having previously directed 2021's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It as well as spinoff The Nun II. He made his directorial debut on The Curse of La Llorona, although Chaves has said repeatedly that that's not an official entry in The Conjuring franchise. Plot details of The Conjuring 4 are currently unknown, but David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote The Devil Made Me Do It with James Wan, handled the screenplay, per THR.

Wan, who directed the first two Conjuring movies and continues to write and produce on the franchise, previously teased that the fourth film would be the series' last in an interview with Collider last year.

"We kind of want to just take our time to make sure we get it right and to make sure the emotion of the Warren stories that we want to tell, and moving into, and potentially wrapping up, we just want to make sure that it's the right thing, the right story that we're telling," he said at the time . He stopped short, however, of confirming that it would truly be the end, adding "We never know. You never know. We'll see."

The Conjuring Universe Continues

It's worth noting, however, that the Conjuring has expanded far beyond the Ed and Lorraine Warren-focused main series, crafting an entire cinematic universe that's proven impressively reliable at the box office. Between the Conjuring movies and spinoffs for Annabelle and The Nun, the franchise has pulled in a combined $2.1 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing horror franchise ever.

Plus, it looks like the series will possess TV as well, with Warner Bros. saying last year that a The Conjuring television series is in the works for Max .

We gave The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It a 6/10 back in 2021 , with Tom Jorgensen calling it "a mixed bag that doesn’t quite balance its interesting central mystery with the scares followers of the franchise have come to expect."

Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

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  • › Behind the Scenes

‘The Conjuring 4’ to be Directed by Franchise Veteran Michael Chaves

Chaves, who has directed several films in the horror series already, will be back for what appears to be the final main film featuring the warrens.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.'

(L to R) Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.' Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

  • Michael Chaves has closed a deal to direct the next ‘Conjuring’ Movie.
  • Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are likely to return as Ed and Lorraine Warren.
  • The movie could signal the end of the main ‘Conjuring’ run.

The ‘ Conjuring ’ movies have long become one of the most successful horror franchises since James Wan made the 2013 original, which went on to earn nearly $320 million worldwide from a $20 million budget.

It has spawned not just sequels but also spin-offs, including the ‘ Annabelle ’ movies (about the diabolical doll who lurks in the Warren’s collection of haunted objects) and the ‘ Nun ’ films (which fill in the backstory of the demonic habit-wearer who briefly appears in ‘ The Conjuring 2 ’. All told, the movies have so far made a combined $2.1 billion at the worldwide box office.

It’s somewhat surprising to learn, then, that the fourth –– which currently has no official title but was at one point called ‘Last Rites’ –– could bring the films to a close, at least those directly featuring paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga .

We do now know, though that Michael Chaves, who directed ‘ The Curse of La Llorona ’ (which isn’t technically part of the ‘Conjuring’ universe but has seen a character crossover into the ‘Annabelle’ movies and was produced by Wan), ‘ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It ’ (the third in the main series), and, most recently, ‘ The Nun II ’ is officially aboard for the new movie.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

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What’s the story of the new ‘Conjuring’ movie?

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.'

(L to R) Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.' Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Nothing has been released about the potential story for the new movie, though the end of ‘The Nun II’ saw Ed and Lorraine show up, pointing to a possible crossover between the main movies and the nun-centric spin-off.

Here’s what Chavez told Screen Rant about the connection back in September:

“In terms of the exorcism of Maurice, that’s always been a center, a cornerstone marker in the timeline and I think it's up to interpretation. It's also, I think there's a lot of things that need to align, so it could go a couple different ways. As an audience member, I would 100% see a crossover of all Conjuring demons. I couldn’t give away what I know about what's being developed, but I know that they're going to end with a bang. I know that there is a great finale being planned for ‘Last Rites’ and as to what or who's in it… I don’t want to give away any spoilers.”

Regular writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick returned for the new movie, and the cameras should be rolling this summer in Atlanta, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Who will be in the new ‘Conjuring’ movie?

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.'

We can assume Wilson and Farmiga will return, and possibly either McKenna Grace or someone else playing their daughter Judy. The movies have usually tended to be stand-alone cases, so a new cast around the leads is likely.

Related Article: Movie Review: 'The Nun II'

What of the ‘conjuring’ tv series.

Even if the movies do come to an end –– and more spin-offs are likely anyway –– there is still the ‘Conjuring’ TV series in development at Max . The creative team has stayed quiet as to what that might include, but if greenlit, the series will surely continue to bring fresh terror.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.'

Other Movies in ‘The Conjuring' Franchise:

  • ' The Conjuring ' (2013)
  • ' The Conjuring 2 ' (2016)
  • ' Annabelle: Creation ' (2017)
  • ' The Nun ' (2018)
  • ' Annabelle Comes Home ' (2019)
  • ' The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It ' (2021)
  • ' The Nun II ' (2023)

Buy 'The Conjuring' Movies On Amazon

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  • King praises the movie for old-school horror, urging the studio to release it.
  • King asserts he has no control over film release and just writes the stories, but wants to see the movie come out.

Horror author Stephen King calls out Warner Bros. for their still-delayed remake of Salem's Lot , expanding his thoughts on the film months after it was delayed. Written as a novel by King in 1975, the story follows a writer returning to his hometown of Jersualem's Lot, Maine, only to discover an ancient vampire has taken up residence there. The book has been adapted into two miniseries, with a movie remake originally slated to come out in 2023.

Now, King has called out Warner Bros. for still having the upcoming Salem's Lot movie shelved , despite the film already being completed.

King praises the movie for " old-school horror filmmaking ," believing the studio should release the movie. However, he emphasizes he doesn't have power over when they decide to do so, saying he " just [writes] the f***ing things ."

Salem's Lot will be the first direct film adaptation of the book, the previous outings being TV miniseries and a radio drama.

When Will The Salem’s Lot Remake Be Released?

two Salem's Lot vampires in a custom image

Following filming in 2021 - with additional shooting in mid-2022 - Salem’s Lot was expected to be released in theaters on September 9, 2022. However, it was delayed until April 21, 2023, before being shelved due to post-production delays. It was reportedly slated for Warner Bros.' streaming service Max in October of that year, though nothing was confirmed regarding a concrete release.

Salem's Lot 's constant delays are worrying, as Warner Bros. has been known to delay finished projects before ultimately shelving them for good. The latest example of this was Coyote vs. Acme 's canceled release , a controversial decision by the studio because the film was finished and had interested distribution buyers. Given no concrete news has been revealed about the King-based horror movie in months, it's possible the film won't see the light of day.

Pennywise from IT and the vampire from Salem's Lot

Every Upcoming Stephen King Movie

However, since Warner Bros. was still considering releasing the film on Max in October, the studio could just be waiting for an opportune time to announce a release date. While it's clear the studio is no stranger to axing finished films, Salem's Lot has King's backing, indicating it will be a success if it comes out. With no word yet on when to expect the movie, though, it will be a waiting game for learning what its fate will be.

Source: Stephen King /Twitter

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