Entries in the ever growing Conjuring Universe have become as ubiquitous as films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boasting one of the only other franchises to rival that one, the universe grows bigger and scarier with the releases of its newest entry, Annabelle Comes Home. Continuing plot threads by its two predecessors, it also directly involves The Conjuring protagonists Ed and Lorraine Warren.
With reviews for the new horror film starting to pour in, we've calculated the average scores for each film in the series using the review aggregating sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Now, here's how all of the Conjuring Universe fright fests stack up against each other.
Annabelle – Average Score: 33
The first spinoff in The Conjuring universe, Annabelle is also a prequel to the first film. Detailing how the Warrens came into possession of the equally possessed Annabelle doll, the film filled out and enriched the first film's backstory, which gave it am gave ample potential.
Unfortunately, the critics found that the actual film didn't exactly deliver on that potential. Criticized for its cheap scares and derivative narrative, the film was seen as consistently taking from far better films. Its poor screenplay and relatively small budget also stuck out, but the acting was fairly well-reviewed.
The Nun – Average Score: 36
As a prequel and spinoff that showcased the origins of the habit-clad demon Valak, 2018's The Nun promised to expand on the unholy terrors first introduced in The Conjuring 2.
Despite this, the film was widely criticized for its inconsistent internal logic and only recieved an average . Like the first Annabelle, it was also criticized for being overly reliant on the kind of jump scares that the original The Conjuring was praised for shunning. Even if those cheap thrills failed to scare, The Nun was praised, however, for the strength of the cast's performances. The film also received positive marks for setting its shaky narrative within a series of well-crafted set pieces that added an appropriate spooky atmosphere.
The Curse of La Llorona – Average Score: 36
Based on a Mexican folktale about a murderous weeping woman, The Curse of La Llorona was initially marketed as being outside the Conjuring Universe. While it features doesn't feature the Warrens or one of the cases they investigated, the film is loosely tied to the series through the appearance of Father Perez, who was first introduced in Annabelle.
Unfortunately, this connection didn't save the film from a less than positive reception, and the film has an average score of 36. Much like Annabelle and The Nun, La Llorona was criticized for being derivative, uneventful and relying on jump scares. The film was also seen as wasting its interesting cultural premise, though the performances of stars Linda Cardellini and Marisol Ramirez were highly praised.
Annabelle Comes Homes – Average Score: 58
The most recent film in the series, Annabelle Comes Home features Annabelle awakening spirits in the Warren's room of unholy objects. Together, they conspire to lash out against the Warren's daughter Judy and her babysitters. So far, the film's reception has been mixed, receiving an average score of 58 at the time of this writing.
While it's on track to have a more positive reception than the first Annabelle, it's not quite on track to top the critical consensus around the second film. So far, the film's strong acting and sense of fun amidst the terror have been heralded as highlights. The criticism around the film has centered on its plot, which has been called plodding and tired, and its continually shaky logic.
Annabelle: Creation – Average Score: 66
Annabelle: Creation is another prequel that looks at how the Annabelle doll itself became such a vile host of evil. Overall, the film, which received an average score of 66, was considered a marked improvement over its predecessor.
Critics touted the film's acting, creepy atmosphere, and the general fear factor as highlights. Many found that it hewed closer to The Conjuring by relying more on the kind of psychological horror that successfully kicked off the series.
The Conjuring 2 – Average Score: 73
Second only to its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 received an average critical score of 73. The story once again follows an official investigation by the Warrens. This time, the demonologists investigate a haunting experience in Enfield, England, where they eventually encounter the demon Valak, whose story would be told in The Nun.
The film's greatest strengths were the same ones that made the first film such a standout hit. The film's moody atmosphere, limited special effects use and acting were all touted as highlights. The main criticism against the film was that it simply lost some of The Conjuring's charm by following that film's formula so closely.
The Conjuring – Average Score: 76
The first film in the franchise, The Conjuring is also still generally considered to be the best as well. With an average score of 76, James Wan's 2013 masterpiece was nothing short of a breath of fresh air at a time when the horror genre relied on jump scares.
The film's atmosphere and minimal use of special effects hearkened back to The Amityville Horror film franchise, which were inspired by the Warren's real life cases. With Patrick Wilson's Ed and Vera Farmiga's Lorraine Warren, the film introduced two iconic horror movie heroes and set the stage for everything that followed.
In addition to its critical acclaim, it performed just as well financially. The Conjuring held its own against stiff competition like Pacific Rim and The Wolverine on its way to grossing $319.5 million at the box office. By making over 15 times its $20 million budget, The Conjuring paved the way for an entire universe of dread.
Directed by first time director Gary Dauberman, Annabelle Comes Home stars Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Stephen Blackheart, Steve Coulter, Samara Lee, Joseph Bishara, and Paul Dean. The film opens on June 26.