Ranking The Conjuring Universe

I tend to drag my feet on any long-running series that spawns its own spinoffs and shared universes. Interconnectivity can be cool (and hugely profitable) but it can also be straight up obnoxious. “ALL OF THIS IS CONNECTED,” “THESE MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.” Bro. We get it.

Marvel Studios is the only one to successfully launch a cinematic universe, which is why other studios keep trying and failing. Warner Bros. flubbed its Justice League mashup; it’s a miracle I got around to watching Aquaman, and I have yet to see Shazam or WW1984. The Fast & Furious franchise, though mega successful at the box office, bred a spinoff in Hobbs & Shaw, but you cannot pay me enough money to watch that movie. Don’t get me started on what Disney’s doing to plow through our nostalgia with its live-action adaptations. And remember Universal’s planned Dark Universe? Ouch.

The only other cinematic universe that can dare hold a candle to the MCU is The Conjuring Universe. As horror movies, they have a built-in failsafe. They’re cheaper to produce than any one superhero movie. So if any of the Conjuring Universe movies “flop,” the losses are small and the studio can (and most assuredly will) try again with the next movie.

These movies vary in quality, but they’re all commercially successful and that’s all that matters in the studio game. Having seen and sunk my teeth into the latest installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, I decided to finally give the whole Conjuring Universe a go. (I hadn’t seen two of the Annabelle movies, The Nun, or The Curse of La Llorona). And you know what? It’s the most fun I’ve had this summer so far, and an excellent pregame to what feels like will be a summer of horror.

All caught up, here’s where I rank The Conjuring Universe:

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The Conjuring

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Fear is a funny thing. When it’s coursing through your veins, the sudden creak of an open door becomes your worst nightmare. You tell yourself it’s nothing. It’s just the wind. But you can’t know for sure. So you go towards it, hoping to prove you were right all along. And slowly, you venture into the unknown, unaware that there are forces at work beyond your control. The Conjuring is one of the rare horror films that actually understands fear and the things we do because of it. So while you may be screaming inside your head, “Don’t do it! The witch is there! She wants you to go into the cellar!” you have to remember that these characters don’t want to believe it as much as they know it might be true. Before we see something, it’s still an unknown. Whether something is truly there all depends on you seeing it for yourself. Unfortunately, the Perron family are never let off the hook. Not only do they experience the horror, they also endure the psychological trauma that follows. “Hey, do you wanna play?” a voice asks, lurking in the dark. Carolyn Perron reaches for a match, desperately trying to prove that nothing’s there. A small fire burns away the shadows. All seems well. Then, a pair of clapping hands comes forth to engulf her in darkness. Fear is such a cruel thing.

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