We’re only seven films into the Conjuring universe and already the timeline’s more confusing than the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe combined.
But don’t worry, we’ve reshuffled your watching order so it appears chronologically – because we’re nice like that. So, brace yourself – things are about to get spooky.
Annabelle: Creation (2017) – 1933 / 1945 / 1967
If you want to watch The Conjuring movies in chronological order, you’re going to need to start with Annabelle: Creation, which is lucky, because it’s one of the best films in the franchise. Seriously.
The film opens in 1933 with a prologue, before shifting into the main film’s plot, which takes place in 1945, all of which means it happens before the next film on our list.
Well, as long as you switch the DVD off before the very end of the film, which takes place in 1967 and leads into the first Annabelle movie. But we’ll get to that. First…
The Nun (2018) – 1952
You need to get yourself to the cinema (in cinemas now) to see this fun spook house horror for the next chronological instalment in your Conjuring marathon. It’s set – almost – entirely in 1952, but you will have to basically accept that, at the cinema, you will see something (no spoilers) from another era, but we won’t spoil that until the film comes out on home release.
Put it this way, you’ll have to swap a lot of discs if you want to do this properly.
Annabelle (2014) – 1967
More bad news – you now have to watch the least convincing film in the series. Still, this way, you get to watch the end of Annabelle: Creation (yep, time to watch that ending), which does work miracles in that it actually manages to improve this movie. But it’s still pretty bad – as we follow a bunch of boring people who are far less interesting than the evil doll the film’s supposed to be about.
Still, good news – there’s a great one next.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019) - 1968 / 1972
The seventh film in the series begins in 1968 and sees Ed and Lorraine take Annabelle to their home after claims from two nurses that the doll often performed violent activities in their apartment. After containing the possessed toy in a glass case, blessed by Father Gordon, the plot fast-forwards four where the Warren’s daughter and babysitter are forced to contend with the evil plaything.
The Conjuring (2013) – 1971
Yep, arguably the best film in the series is still the very first visit we took to the universe. The Conjuring is an excellent mix of world-building, great characters and genuine scares, so it’s no wonder Warner Brothers didn’t want to let it go – to the extent they created their own MCU from it, but with spooks instead of superheroes.
We’re introduced to Annabelle in this first Conjuring film, where we learn Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have taken possession of the demon doll.
The Curse of La Llorana (2019) - 1673 / 1973
This original horror begins in Mexico, 1673, where a young boy witnesses his mother drowning his brother in a stream after gifting her a necklace. It fast forwards 300 years to Los Angeles, 1973, where we meet Anna (Linda Cardellini) who must defend her two children from the malevolent spirit who wants to steal her children.
It features Father Perez (Tony Amendola) a character who appeared in Annabelle.
The Conjuring 2 (2016) – 1976 / 1977
We’re straight into the sequel next, which also handily offers us (as we’re watching it in chronological order) our final gawp at The Nun aka Valak (who, in the real world, was first introduced in this film). It also gives us our first look at The Crooked Man, who’s next in line for his own spin-off, though we don’t yet know when that’ll be set, so it could fall at any point in the timeline.
As soon as it’s released, we’ll update this list – so bookmark it if you want to stay on top of one of the messiest timelines this side of a Doctor Who autobiography.