Top 15 Harrowing Movies Like 'The Conjuring' (Series)

Updated on October 11, 2019
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

The Conjuring is not an easy film to digest. Mix a harrowing story with screams and scornful visages, and you have an ingredient for a nightmarish ordeal. The tension continues to build up till the very end, to the point where it’s unbearable.

My hyperbole won't cut it. If you have stumbled upon this piece, I'll assume you're looking for some movies like The Conjuring. Without any further ado, let's get right into it.

Movies Similar To The Conjuring

  1. The Rite
  2. The Exorcist
  3. Grave Encounters
  4. The Others
  5. The Ring (US)
  6. The Woman In Black
  7. The Amityville Horror
  8. 1408
  9. The Orphanage
  10. Sinister
  11. The Cabin In The Woods
  12. Dark Skies
  13. Oculus
  14. The Possession
  15. Annabelle

1. The Rite

The story spins around a seminary student, a skeptic who gets sent to Italy to take an exorcism course. Things go according to the plan at first, but his perception changes when he's introduced to invincible otherworldly demonic forces.

Before you go in, I'd like you to leave skepticism at the doorstep. It's an essential prerequisite without which enjoying this horror flick will not be possible.

Despite an ending that leaves you wanting more, perhaps a sequel (something unlikely to materialize), The Rite is an evenly paced ride well worth your time. The eccentric plotline might not be to everyone's liking, but those who love a good heart-pounding, jumpscare-laden experience, won't have much to complain about.

2. The Exorcist

A young girl is possessed by a demonic entity. Her only help, two veteran priests, soon find out that they have bitten more than they can chew on.

With the creep factor dialed up to 11, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist easily sits right alongside scary flicks like The Shining and The Others, just to name a few.

You can guess its creep factor when you consider the fact that this is among few features that made people faint when they witnessed this unrelentingly dark affair unfold in the cinema hall. That was 1973. Time has changed but its potency hasn’t. Brace yourself for some nightmarish torture and prepare to sleep with lights on.

It's not your typical possession movie. Throughout the run, you'll wonder if the poor girl is deranged or something has really possessed her. You be the judge.

3. Grave Encounters

A crew of ghost hunters gets permission to spend the night inside a notorious abandoned psychiatric hospital. The ghost hunters presume it to be just another day in the office, only to willingly throw themselves into the devil's despairing labyrinth. The more they try to scramble out of the mire, the deeper they descend in the path of chaos.

Movies like this have been down before, and there's no point reiterating it. Everyone enjoys a guilty-pleasure ride once in a while. No shame in indulging in some brain-dead yet fun affair.

Suspension of belief is a prerequisite here, particularly because of its larger-than-life flamboyant persona, but you'll dig it once you're past the minor nuisances.

4. The Others

This cruelly dark feature stars Nicole Kidman in the role of a widowed woman living in a remote mansion with her two photosensitive kids. With mysterious fog creeping up on the house, she soon starts believing her house is haunted. The morbid truth, however, inadvertently lays out in the open when a few unwanted guests come over for a perpetual stay.

The clever twist at the end, despite being a little preposterous, make sense staying true to the theme of the movie.

Even if you're not a huge fan of peekaboo horror, The Others will appeal to you. Maybe it won't make you look over your shoulder, but its macabre affairs will certainly disturb you to the core. If you're looking for some movies like The Conjuring, The Others should be right up your alley.

5. The Ring (US)

The Ring chronicles a journalist’s foray into a mysterious tape - one that kills whoever dares to watch its content. Little does she know that her personal involvement in its sinister affairs will alter the course of her lives.

This well-crafted journey is not laden with jumpscares, yet its unflinching earliness will get to you. The Ring starts off sluggishly but soon changes gears to morph into an ordeal.

If you loved the US remake, do try the original Japanese version - its creepier distant cousin.

6. The Woman in Black

The story spins around a lawyer who's assigned with a task to find out more about a recently deceased woman living in a remote village. Reluctantly he arrives at her house, only to find himself getting sucked into the sinister affairs of a vengeful entrapped spirit.

The Woman in Black doesn't rely on the old horror tropes. Without any cliché CGI effects, this feature is a living proof that horror movies can be disarmingly poignant without resorting to well-worn shenanigans. So profound its impact is, you will be sleeping with lights on for a while.

Without spoiling anything, there are some genuine heart-pounding moments that'll undoubtedly send the chills down your spine. This slow-burn ride is at its best in the second half where it fires on all the cylinders.

7. The Amityville Horror

A family moves into an expansive house - one witness to a gruesome mass murder - only to realize that it's home to scornful demons. Things take a sinister turn when George, the patriarch, starts behaving uncannily outlandish. Their daughter, meanwhile, starts witnessing otherworldly occurrences.

This is one of the few horror remakes that does justice to the original movie. Both lead protagonists, Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George, shine in their roles as hopeless couples with no clue about the imminent danger.

This minimalistic feature might not have the grandeur and profoundness of movies like The Conjuring, but painstaking jumpscares more than make up for its lack of depth.

8. 1408

A published writer checks into a haunted room to get insinuations of his next big thing, only to slowly get sucked into a trippy and haunting world, and losing his grip on reality. The more he tries to scramble out of the mire, the more this sinister room tightens the screws on him.

1408 might not be one of the best adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, but certainly packs a punch where it matters. This Mikael Håfström directed feature lacks the panache of movies like The Conjuring or The Shining (King’s best work), but more than makes up for it with its minimalistic, in-your-face approach.

If you're looking for some spooky movies like The Conjuring, 1408 should be right up your alley.

9. The Orphanage

The plot spins around a woman who convinces her husband to buy an abandoned orphanage - the place where she spent her whole childhood. Happy memories come rushing back when she moves in, but the nostalgia is traded with dread when her son starts communicating with spirits.

Here is a movie that doesn't take advantage of the cliché horror tropes despite their presence. Instead, this J. A. Bayona directed feature slowly builds up the dread and paranoia to the tipping point where you'll scramble for a breather. The tone is bleak that it gets suffocating at times.

The Orphanage bathes in cruelty and despair, and thus taut affair is all the better for it. Since the whole story is narrated through one of the main characters, it's hard to take everything on face value. How much of the story will you believe when the narrator can't be relied upon? You be the judge.

10. Sinister

Sinister chronicles the life of a nonfictional crime writer dealing with the worse case of writer's block. Struggling to come up with new ideas, he moves with his family to a haunted house. Though he soon realizes that he might have bitten more than he can chew on when he stumbles upon some rusty 8mm home videos.

For once, nobody makes stupid decisions in the movie. They get in trouble, not because of their stupidity, but because of how the whole premise is perched right on the edge of doom. Wriggle vigorously they do, only to get further sucked into the world of chaos and disorder.

Go on. Give it a go. It's not like you were planning on sleeping anyways.

11. The Cabin in The Woods

The story revolves around five college students planning a trip to a mysterious cabin in the woods. They arrive in peace and harmony, but things soon go south when they start encountering all the horrors one can think of. It's unrelenting, getting progressively worse all the time. Not everything, however, can be attributed to bad luck. And they all but confirm their suspicions when one of them inadvertently uncovers a sinister secret - one that'll change the course of their lives.

Try not to get too bogged down in the details; suspend your disbelief for the whole run and enjoy a relentless, outlandish ride.

Is this flick perfect? Perhaps not. Is it smart and unflinchingly nightmarish? Yes. You've got your answer.

12. Dark Skies

Directed by Scott Stewarts, the story follows an idyllic family living in the middle of nowhere. Things, however, spiral out of control when inexplicable atrocities befall on every family member. In one way or the other, they find themselves embroiled in a world of chaos and danger. As the macabre grip tightens around the family, they desperately wriggle in an attempt to escape unscathed.

The spooky ambiance punctuated with an enthralling, well-paced story makes for a thrilling ride - one that'll leave your Jaws dropped on the floor.

Negative reviews about this flick are somewhat surprising. Of course, this Scott Stewart directed pic is not without its flaws, but it certainly doesn't deserve to be shunned - something I witnessed on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, this underrated pic has fallen prey to the ‘group hate’ mindset. I urge you not to pay heed to those ignorant rants. Be the judge yourself.

13. Oculus

A capricious, satanic mirror is at the center of Oculus’s story. After claiming cpuntless lives and going underground for a while, it's once again back in business as two stubborn siblings decide to delve deep into the sinister mystery themselves. Two amateurs against one pro. Who will emerge victorious?

Mirrors have been used in the horror movies before, but nothing quite comes close to delivering the scares and shudders of this sly feature. Checking yourself out in the mirror won't feel the same again.

With deaths all around, Oculus can be quite a grueling experience, even for the most hardcore gorehounds. Thankfully hard-to-stomach gore and blood are balanced with an enigmatic story, punctuated with mesmerizing performances from both protagonists.

If you're looking for some minimalistic, jumpy movies like The Conjuring, Oculus should be right up your alley.

14. The Possession

The story follows a father who buys a dybbuk box for her young daughter, Elm. As she starts showing signs of a possible demonic possession, he first writes it off. It's only when her obsession with the recently purchased box increases, he realizes that both of them are in a world of trouble.

Despite walking on a well-worn path, Ole Bornedal‘s The Possession carves out its own identity, thanks to the jolt factor - a saving grace in what could easily have been just another demonic possession movie.

The Possession starts off slow but soon changes gears, albeit brazenly, to show its fangs. Once it gets going, it's a thrilling roller-coaster ride.

15. Annabelle

Two Satan servers attack a couple, invading their home in the middle of the night. Before cops kill them, they bring a sinister entity back to life using a doll - Annabelle. Lifeless she was before the ritual, but now the same doll is after their lives. In despair, they seek help from a renowned priest. Little do they know that their haunting has just begun.

Call it lazy writing, but some dialogues and scenes of this horror flick seem heavily inspired from The Conjuring series. Annabelle is rich with disconcerting themes and bright ideas but lacks perfect exception. It's not, however, bland - not by a long shot. This John R. Leonetti directed pic might be unoriginal. Vapid, however, it's not.

That's about it, for now. I gave it my best shot to collate a list of best movies like The Conjuring, scrounging every nook and cranny of the internet. This list, however, is not complete without your contribution. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments section. If they're worth a mention, I'll be sure to update this list.

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      Syed Mahad 

      4 months ago

      Great list!

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