The Conjuring film series has taken off as a bit of a franchise which is quite the accomplishment for a film that was initially based on real paranormal investigators. The married couple of Ed and Lorraine Warren seek out paranormal events around America, trying to divulge the secrets behind such haunted locations and occurrences. Their real-life exploits are chronicled in this film where the duo investigate a haunted farm in the early 1970s, where a dark spirit looms over such a spot. The 2013 film was directed by James Wan (the Saw horror franchise) and starred Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, and Lili Taylor.
The Conjuring became such a hit on a modest budget that it wasn’t long before more Conjuring films followed. The Conjuring 2 debuted in 2016 and the third film entitled The Devil Made Me Do It will be releasing soon as well. The success of the film not only launched an entire horror movie universe revolving around the discoveries of the Warrens but created a bigger need in the public for more paranormal and supernatural horror. Ghosts and hauntings became all the rage once more and there’s thankfully plenty of films centered around spookiness that are just as compelling as The Conjuring. Here are 10 films similar to The Conjuring in either the creepiness of ghosts, the true-life inspiration, or just being a scary flick.
As the first spin-off of the Conjuring series of films, Annabelle follows the tale of the titular doll that became haunted by the demonic, semi-based on the real-life haunted doll. A young couple wants to start a new life and decide to add the creepy doll of Annabelle to their household. However, as time progresses, they notice the doll starts appearing in other places. There’s more to this toy than meets the eye as the supernatural wields the doll for evil intent. Directed by John R. Leonetti (The Silence) and written by Gary Dauberman (The Nun), the film stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard. The strong box office success of the film led to the sequels of Annabelle: Creation (2017) and Annabelle Comes Home (2019).
Yet another spin-off of the Conjuring movies, The Nun is the gothic horror prequel to the monster nun who appeared in The Conjuring 2. The film takes place in 1952 Romania where Saint Cartha’s monastery is under attack by some angry spirit that threatens the sanctity of a house of worship. It’s up to a down-on-his-luck priest sent by the Vatican to unearth what hauntings plague this monastery with the help of a local nun. In addition to trying to come to terms with his own tragic past, the priest must also contend with ghastly spirits that torture those who enter with a secret that lies hidden deep beneath the house of god. Equal parts adventure film as it is jumpscare horror, The Nun was directed by Corin Hardy (The Hallow) and stars Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet.
Insidious: The Last Key
As the fourth entry of the Insidious horror series, The Last Key continues the adventures of the paranormal investigators of the previous films. This time, however, the revered parapsychologist Elise Rainier finds herself tangling with her own dark past while on yet another mission of countering ghostly spirits. With her spirited crew of Spec and Tucker working alongside her, she once more ventures into the depths of the dark unknown to stop the demonic and also come to terms with her history, revisiting the home of one of the most traumatic events in her childhood. Directed by Adam Robitel (Escape Room) and written by Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man), this palindromic entry of the Insidious series stars Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Spencer Locke, Caitlin Gerard, and Bruce Davison.
The Curse of La Llorona
It is 1973 in Los Angeles and caseworker Anna Tate-Garcia finds herself in a difficult situation. When she is attacked by one of her clients, Patricia Alvare, the Alvare family informs Anna to keep a close eye on the children and make sure they don’t leave the house. When Anna instead chooses to bring the kids somewhere safe, she and the children encounter the evil and ancient spirit of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). Surviving the night may be difficult when dealing with such a malevolent force that threatens their lives. Directed by Michael Chaves (The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It), this supernatural horror stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, and Patricia Velásquez.
It is considered one of the scariest supernatural horror films of all-time and for good reason. The Exorcist, based on the book of the same name by William Peter Blatty, tells the grim story of the 12-year-old Regan who becomes possessed by a demonic force. Such a possession makes her urinate on the floor, contort her body, and spew all manner of vulgarity and vomit. It’s up to two Roman Catholic priests to answer the call and use all their faith to fight off such a horrific force that plagues the young Regan. Directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection), the film stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, and Linda Blair. The Exorcist would also expand into the sequels of Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Exorcist III (1990), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005).
The Amityville Horror (2005)
There have been a number of films based on the real-life accounts of the scary nature that resided at the home on 112 Ocean Avenue of the suburban Amityville neighborhood. Having first been told in the novel of the same name by Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror was made into a film in 1979 and went onto a length series of franchised films. However, the 2005 version packs more scares and terror that are more common to that of The Conjuring. The film recounts the tale of how the married couple of George and Kathy Lutz came to live in such a home and how its mysterious nature of paranormal forces turned the father into a killer. This ninth Amityville Horror film produced by Michael Bay stars Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, and Philip Baker Hall.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Before director Scott Derrickson became better known for his found-footage horror of Sinister and his Marvel movie Doctor Strange, he made his splash into theatrical horror with The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Unlike many supernatural horror films, however, this picture is different in that it asks the question of legality in exorcism. Loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, the film proceeds as a courtroom drama that questions how much faith one has in the demonic and exorcism when homicide enters the equation. Centered around similar themes as that of The Exorcist, the film’s cast includes Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Jennifer Carpenter, Mary Beth Hurt, Henry Czerny, and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
A true-crime horror writer is finding himself stuck in a rut and is hoping that he can find something new to write when moving to a new home with his family. What he hasn’t told his family is that this house just happens to be the place where a gruesome murder occurred. What the writer doesn’t know, however, is that there’s more to this story than just one murder but an entire series of murders. He finds evidence of such killings in a mysterious box of home movies that document various brutal acts. The further he digs the more he discovers that there may be something deeply demonic behind this case. Directed Scott Derickson and C. Robert Cargill (both having worked on Doctor Strange), this found-footage horror film stars Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, and Clare Foley.
When the lights go out, that’s when the monsters come out to kill you. This is the premise posed by director David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation), based on his short film of the same name. Rebecca has been traumatized since childhood of what may lurk in the dark and she’s not alone in her fear. Her brother, Martin, is also experiencing such terrors that have followed them into adulthood. Determined to find out what creature lurks when the lights are dead, they unravel a mysterious of trauma and torture that led to an evil spirit seeking souls when the darkness envelopes. This 2016 supernatural horror stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, and Maria Bello.
As one of the classic haunted house movies, Poltergeist depicts a family moving into a suburban home, unaware that their home resides on an ancient Indian burial ground. The family soon find themselves fearing for their lives as everything in the house begins to attack them, from the toys in the closet to the trees just outside their windows. Directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), this creepy horror features a cast that includes JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, and Beatrice Straight. The film was so successful that it received two sequels of Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988), as well as a 2015 remake.