20 Scary Movies Like The Conjuring
The Conjuring movie franchise is one of the most successful in horror history. Consisting of eight films, there are four main movies in the series and four spin-offs, with several more in the works. The flicks have been so successful that there are many more movies like The Conjuring fast-tracked for development to cash in on the haunted house/possession sub-genre of horror movies.
The original is still the best and focuses on real-life paranormal investigators Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren. The Warren’s first found public fame when their investigation into the Amityville haunting was explored in a book and then adapted to the big screen. The Conjuring is inspired by the duo’s investigation into the Perron family.
In the film, the Perron’s move into a home in Harrisville, Rhode Island, and began to experience paranormal activity. The Warren’s (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga ) discover that the house is haunted by a witch who cursed the grounds it was built on. The movie is full of scares and creepy moments and was a box office smash in 2013. It made an astonishing $319 million off a $20 million budget, so it was a no-brainer there would be more films to follow.
If you’ve already seen the countless sequels and spin-offs you might be wondering what other similar films you can scare yourself watching. Well here are 20 similar movies to The Conjuring about supernatural possession and haunted houses horror fans will love.
20 Scary Movies Like The Conjuring
1. The Amityville Horror (2005)
While the original is a hard watch, the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror is a decent haunted house movie with enough scares to keep even diehard horror fans happy. The plot is similar to the 1979 film of the same name and centers on the Lutz family who move into a home that was the scene of a horrific mass murder.
As paranormal activity starts to ramp up, George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds playing against type), the head of the family, begins to show signs of possession as he becomes aggressive and violent towards his family.
Although it didn’t score well with critics, The Amityville Horror made over $100 million at the box office. It’s also the best of the 28 Amityville-related movies that have been released over the past four decades.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
It might not be a paranormal movie but The Exorcist is one of the scariest flicks you’ll ever watch. You probably know all about this William Friedkin classic, but for those still too afraid to watch, the movie focuses on a young girl who is possessed by a demon. Two priests are sent by the Catholic church to perform an exorcism and things don’t go to plan.
Spinning heads, pea-colored vomit, and a certain sex scene with a cross had audiences fainting and walking out when The Exorcist hit cinemas in 1973. It was the highest-grossing R-rated horror film until It and won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound at the Academy Awards.
3. Dead Silence (2007)
Directed by James Wan from a screenplay by Leigh Whannell (the duo behind Saw), Dead Silence is a modern horror featuring an evil ventriloquist doll called Billy. That should be enough to let you know what this movie is all about.
Like many horrors made throughout the 2000s, this one didn’t go down well with critics but was raved about by horror fans. Whannell wasn’t a fan either, discussing the negative influence the studio had on the finished product on his blog. Despite all this, Dead Silence is still a watchable horror that makes a great double feature with Annabelle.
4. Paranormal Activty (2007)
Another successful horror franchise, there are eight official Paranormal Activity films, along with a Japanese spin-off. All the films are of varying quality but it’s hard to look past the first when it comes to genuine scares. Helping popularize the found-footage genre, the movie is about a young couple who move into a new home and soon find themselves attacked by a malevolent force.
While the acting isn’t great the film itself is chock full of tension and suspense, with some really great scares throughout. Similar to low-budget horror The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity was a monster success at the box office, grossing almost $200 million.
5. The Haunting (1999)
Based on the 1959 Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House, this late 90s horror is about a group of strangers who meet at an old mansion in hopes of having their insomnia cured. As is often the case in these types of movies, not everything is as it seems, and strange events begin to plague those staying in the house.
Although not director Jan de Bont’s (Speed and Twister) best, there is a lot to like about The Haunting. The cast is also fantastic, with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor, Bruce Dern, and Virginia Madsen all starring.
6. Final Destination (2000)
Final Destination has a great premise: a group of students is taken out one by one by the Grim Reaper after surviving a plane crash. Originally written as an episode for The X-Files, this great horror is full of suspense and interesting ways Death kills his victims. The cast is chock full of up-and-comers, such as Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, and Devon Sawa, and the thrilling finale will have you hoping for a sequel.
Of course, you don’t have to hope as there are four follow-up films, and while not on the level as the first, are still enjoyable nonetheless. There’s also a nice cameo from Tony Todd, who horror fans will remember as the Candyman.
7. Poltergiest (1982)
Based on a story conceived by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist is a frightening supernatural thriller about ghosts that begin haunting an American family. As strange events begin to happen, the Freeling family isn’t really sure what to do and calls in a parapsychologist and a medium to help out. They soon discover a poltergeist is behind the ruckus who is trying to kidnap the Freeling children.
One of the great 80s horrors, Poltergiest has everything you want from this type of film. Thrills, chills, and a little comedy combine for a wonderful 114 minutes that will have you glued to your seat.
Word of advice, stay away from the 2015 remake. It’s not good.
8. The Curse of La Llorona (2009)
The Curse of La Llorona is the sixth movie and stand-alone film in The Conjuring franchise. Linda Cardellini is a case worker who finds herself at the mercy of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), an evil Mexican spirit. She must find a way to stop the malevolent being from murdering her two boys.
This is a fun horror with plenty of scares and a great legend surrounding the evil spirit La Llorona. As with most projects associated with The Conjuring movies, this was a hit with cinemagoers and made lots of money.
9. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Even watching this film today gives you the creeps. Focusing on three students who wander into the woods in search of the Blair Witch, this is another incredible found-footage movie (it kick-started the trend) that will have your heart beating. There’s not really much that happens, but as the three teens get deeper into the forest and find themselves lost, they start to realize there is something in the woods and it’s not looking to be friends.
Grossing $248.6 million from a budget of just $200,000 – $500,000, the marketing campaign for The Blair Witch Project is just as remarkable as the movie itself. A website was set up about the missing students and fake flyers were handed out at screenings. Even the IMDB page listed the actors as “missing” for the first year after it was released, with many people believing the three teens really had disappeared. It’s also one of the first movies to use the Internet as a marketing tool, helping The Blair Witch Project become a monster hit.
10. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Another great found footage horror, The Taking of Deborah Logan tells the story of a documentary team making a movie about Alzheimer’s patients. When they uncover some dark secrets about cults and evil rituals, they realize that subject, Deborah Logan, might be suffering from something supernatural.
What’s great about this film is the plot. It’s fresh and exciting and brings something new to the horror genre. Although the cast is relatively unknown, they are all exceptional and really help bring this supernatural story to life.
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11. Insidious (2010)
Before The Conjuring, James Wan and Leigh Whanell came up with Insidious. This supernatural thriller also stars Patrick Wilson, this time as a husband whose family comes under attack from a supernatural creature. A couple of funny paranormal investigators get involved as they try and stop the spirits from taking over the kids.
Much like The Conjuring, this movie is full of good scares coupled with an interesting plot. It also has three sequels with another in the works, with all the stories influenced by real-life events.
12. Sinister (2012)
Ethan Hawke is a true crime writer who moves into a new home and discovers a box of old video tapes. The tapes show grisly murders that are attributed to a shadowy figure known as Mr. Boogie. As Hawke tries to solve the murders, he puts his family at risk as Mr. Boogie (actually the demon Bughuul) intends to make them his next victims.
While some have called it predictable (which is fair), there’s a lot to like about this movie. The plot is different, Hawke is in fine form and the suspense is there right until the very end. If that doesn’t sell you, a scientific study found Sinister to be the scariest film ever made. Now you can’t disagree with science, can you?
13. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Another exorcism movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young woman who underwent 67 exorcisms before her death. Part courtroom procedural, part spooky horror, this film is a great take on the exorcism genre.
Laura Linney plays a defense lawyer representing Tom Wilkinson’s Father Richard Moore who has been charged with the murder of Emily Rose through his repeated exorcisms. The movie switches between the courtroom and flashbacks of what happened to Rose and her gradual descent into madness while possessed.
The acting is high quality from the great cast (particularly Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose) with several religious themes weaved throughout the plot that will have you thinking well after the credits have rolled.
14. Winchester (2018)
A period horror featuring Dame Helen Mirren should be all you need to know to get you keen for this movie. Mirren plays Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun maker Wiliam Winchester. Convinced she’s being haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester guns, she begins building the Winchester Mystery House to escape the evil spirits.
Unfortunately, the new home with its many rooms and secret areas doesn’t keep the supernatural out, with Sarah and her family terrorized by ghosts. This Aussie-American production is a fun watch although don’t take it too seriously, with much of the plot exaggerated and not based on any truth.
15. The Ring (2002)
The Japanese original is fantastic, but the Hollywood remake is just as good. Directed by Gore Verbinski, The Ring is a faithful remake about a haunted videotape that kills the watcher seven days after they have viewed it. Aussie actress Naomi Watts stars as a journalist looking into the film whose son accidentally watches the tape. Roping in her ex, Kiwi Martin Henderson, the two try and solve the mystery of the tape and save their son before time runs out.
There are some truly frightening scenes in the movie, with Samara one of the creepier paranormal baddies of late. Fans of movies like The Conjuring will be all about The Ring.
16. The Rite (2011)
Here’s another one about demonic possession, with the main difference between this and dozens of other similar films being the casting of Sir Anthony Hopkins. Why or how they got him is anyone’s guess, but he adds a touch of class to this otherwise run-of-the-mill exorcism movie.
It’s based on the real-life story of American exorcist-in-training Father Gary Thomas and his dealings with exorcisms while working for the Catholic church in Rome. There are plenty of jump scares and creepy moments, but the best thing about this movie is Hopkins’s performance as Father Lucas Trevant, who is tasked with training young Michael Kovak (based on the real Father Gary Thomas).
The ending is a little predictable and you’ll see most of the scares coming, but Rite is still a great horror movie.
17. Grave Encounters (2011)
Even if found footage movies aren’t your thing, you might still get a kick out of this one. It’s a low-budget Canadian movie about a group of paranormal investigators who are part of the reality TV series Grave Encounters. They lock themselves inside a haunted psychiatric hospital hoping to discover some supernatural going-ons they can capture on tape. The footage they shoot ends up becoming the final episode of the series after the crew all go missing.
Grave Encounters was a moderate success for an indie film and has gained a cult following over the years. It’s a solid entry into the found footage genre that is much better than most big-budget movies. A sequel came out a year later but is best ignored.
18. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Not all horrors have to be terrifying. While this might an odd choice, things do start off in a house (or cabin) before going off the rails. The movie starts with a familiar trope; a group of kids head to a cabin in the woods and find themselves under attack from zombies. Except it’s not some evil spirit or demon carrying out the haunting, instead… to say any more would spoil this one, needless to say, things go sideways quickly in this original horror.
Written as a satire of modern horror, The Cabin in the Woods is an outstanding movie with a cavalcade of creatures and monsters. The cast is great too, with a pre-fame Chris Hemsworth joined by the likes of Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford.
19. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
The Campbell family moves into a new home while their son is undergoing cancer treatment. Surprise, surprise, the house is haunted and the family begins to experience supernatural events. Turns out the house used to be a mortuary where an evil entity was summoned. As the family deal with Matt Campbell’s cancer treatment and things get weirder at home, they call in the experts for help.
While said to be based on a true story, it’s been proved incorrect, with The Haunting in Connecticut just a fictional horror about spirits taking over a house and attacking those that live there. This is another horror with an unnecessary sequel that is not worth your time.
20. The Shining (1980)
Based on the Stephen King novel, The Shining is a tour de force of acting by Jack Nicholson. Directed by the great Stanley Kubrick, the film follows the Torrance family as they move into the historic Overlook Hotel for the winter as caretakers. Nicholson, a struggling writer, hopes the isolation will help him write his new novel, but it instead drives him crazy and turns him into a murderous psychopath.
Everything about this film is amazing, from Kubrick’s direction to Nicholson’s acting and the thrilling climax in the surrounding snowy gardens. Although King isn’t a fan, most movie fans agree this is one of the great horror movies and well worth a spot on this list.
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