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The Conjuring Universe timeline: How to watch the horror series in chronological order

The next chapter of The Conjuring universe has landed in cinemas

The Conjuring Universe timeline is a little complicated, with movies set in different periods that often don't match the release order (Warner Bros./Blumhouse)
The Conjuring Universe timeline is a little complicated, with movies set in different periods that often don't match the release order (Warner Bros./Blumhouse)

The Conjuring universe has been a source of terror for film fans for a decade. Now it's back with its "most violent" movie yet in The Nun 2, which landed in UK cinemas on Friday, 8 September.

The horror series first began with The Conjuring, James Wan's 2013 flick about real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren — Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga — and its success soon spawned multiple spin-offs, sequels and prequels.

Read more: Everything we know about The Nun 2

As the next chapter begins, we take a look back at the franchise and what fans need to know about the franchise timeline.

The Conjuring Universe timeline

Although The Conjuring was released in 2013, it's actually not the first in the franchise chronologically speaking, as several films in the horror series are set before it.

While the film franchise is connected, the movies were not released in chronological order, which means that for some viewers it can be confusing to remember which storyline comes first and how they influence one another.

The Nun (2018) | 1952, Romania

Valak scares (Blumhouse)
The Nun (Blumhouse)

The Nun was released in 2018 but in terms of the franchise timeline it comes first, as the prequel takes place in 1952.

Set in Romania, the horror flick follows Roman Catholic priest Father Burke (Demian Bichir) as he and nun Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) begin to investigate paranormal events involving an evil nun, played by The Conjuring 2's Bonnie Aaron once more.

Annabelle: Creation (2017) | 1955, California

<p>So much better than it had any right to be, <em>Annabelle: Creation</em> took everything that was wrong with the original – boring characters, no plot, predictable scares – and created a genuinely compelling prequel from the broken doll parts. </p>
Annabelle: Creation (Warner Bros.)

The fourth film in the franchise but second chronologically is Annabelle: Creation. The second Annabelle film follows the titular terrifying doll and reveals the origin of how she came to be haunted.

Released in 2017, it follows a doll-maker who decides to take in six orphans and a nun into his home only for an ancient evil to rise up as a result.

The Nun 2 (2023) | 1956

Taissa Farmiga in The Nun II. (New Line/Warner Bros.)
Taissa Farmiga in The Nun II. (New Line/Warner Bros.)

New release The Nun 2 is set four years after the character's first spin-off and so it comes in third in the franchise's overall timeline.

Read more: Everything you need to know about The Nun 2

It follows Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) once more as she faces a new demonic entity, this time in a school in France.

Annabelle (2014) | 1967, California

Annabelle is part of The Conjuring Cinematic Universe
Annabelle (Alamy)

Set 12 years after Annabelle: Creation, the 2014 film sees the demonic doll terrorise a young doctor and his wife when they move into a new home and bring her with them.

It was the first spin-off to The Conjuring and also one of the most well-received, hence why the doll has spawned her own solo franchise.

The Conjuring (2013) | 1971, Rhode Island

The Conjuring series breaks billion dollar mark at the global box office
The Conjuring (Warner Bros.)

The one that started it all. The Conjuring follows Farmiga and Wilson's characters Lorraine and Ed Warren — themselves inspired by the real-life paranormal investigators — as they assist a family who are being haunted by ghosts.

Based on the Warren duo's real-life experiences, the film is inspired by their involvement in the haunting of a house in Amityville, Long Island, where a family claimed to be terrorised by paranormal beings a year after six members of the family were murdered in the home.

Annabelle Comes Home (2019) | 1972

Annabelle Comes Home is an upcoming American supernatural horror film based on the legend of the Annabelle doll. It serves as a sequel to 2014's Annabelle and 2017's Annabelle: Creation, and as the seventh installment in the Conjuring Universe franchise.    This photograph is for editorial use only and is the copyright of the film company and/or the photographer assigned by the film or production company and can only be reproduced by publications in conjunction with the promotion of the above Film. A Mandatory Credit to the film company is required. The Photographer should also be credited whe
Annabelle Comes Home (Warner Bros.)

The third Annabelle film sees Lorraine and Ed Warren return to confiscate the haunted doll, but when they bring it back to their home their daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) begins to be terrorised by it.

The Warren family are forced to face not only the demonic doll but also other haunted artefacts in their home which start to wreak havoc.

The Conjuring 2 (2016) | 1977, London

THE CONJURING 2, Vera Farmiga, 2016. © New Line Cinema / courtesy Everett Collection
The Conjuring 2 (New Line Cinema)

Following the events of the first Conjuring movie, Lorraine and Ed Warren are tasked with helping a family who are also being haunted by an evil spirit.

The 2016 film was the one to introduce the world to The Nun, who later came to headline her own spin-off and will soon return in The Nun 2.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) | 1981, Connecticut

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros.)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros.)

The third Conjuring film was released in 2021, and the eighth film in the franchise is also the most recent in the series' overall timeline.

Set in 1981, the horror flick sees the Warren's involvement in a murder case involving Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O'Connor), who claims he was possessed by a demon and forced to kill his landlord.

How to watch the Conjuring Universe in order

Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene in New Line Cinema's horror film <i>The Nun</i>, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Copyright:
© 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene in The Nun. (Warner Bros.)

If you are looking for an epic horror film night then you would do well to chose the Conjuring Universe, but the question is what is the best way to watch the films? Well, that depends on whether you'd like to see it in release order or chronological order.

The Conjuring Universe in release order:

  • The Conjuring (2013)

  • Annabelle (2014)

  • 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 2 (2023)

The Conjuring Universe in chronological order:

  • The Nun (2018)

  • Annabelle: Creation (2017)

  • The Nun 2 (2023)

  • Annabelle (2014)

  • The Conjuring (2013)

  • Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

  • The Conjuring 2 (2016)

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

The Nun 2 is out now. Watch a trailer below.