Welcome to Beat the Algorithm — a recurring column dedicated to providing you with relevant and diverse streaming recommendations based on your favorite movies. Today, we’re recommending movies to watch if you’re a fan of the Conjuring Universe and especially like its latest installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
If there’s anything the past decade has taught us about horror fans, it’s that they simply cannot get enough of the Conjuring Universe. And we don’t blame them. From the original 2013 installment following two demonologists on a treacherous spirit-based mission to beloved spin-offs such as Annabelle (2014) and The Curse of La Llorona (2019), the franchise is one of the most prolific of its kind — and for a good reason.
The latest entry to grace the silver screen, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, features a comeback from our favorite paranormal investigators, Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). The sequel follows the real-life murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, which took place in Connecticut in 1981. This was the first recorded instance of someone claiming innocence based on the fact that the devil made them do it!
The creators of The Conjuring know its viewers are suckers for that paranormal aesthetic, jump-scares galore, and supernatural gore. So, while The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It has a fresh new story, it also sticks to things we know and love about our favorite genre. And if you watch the movie and are still itching for more Conjuring-style horror, we don’t blame you. In fact, we’re right there with you. Which is why we wrote this comprehensive list of movies to watch right after.
When it comes to the paranormal horror genre, Tobe Hooper‘s Poltergeist is basically the blueprint. Featuring a chilling story conceived by Steven Spielberg, the film follows a five-year-old girl who gains the ability to communicate with the dead through her family’s TV set. What could possibly go wrong?
Like The Conjuring, it considers the grim possibilities of what lies beyond. Haunted cemeteries, gooey ectoplasms, invisible forces wreaking havoc on an idyllic suburban home. If it’s supernatural and spooky, Poltergeist is sure to have it. And if you can make it through the whole movie without covering your eyes with a pillow, you’ll realize how many movies — The Conjuring included — were inspired by it.
Available to stream on HBO Max.
The Exorcist (1973)
Talk about a stone-cold classic. If you’re a horror movie buff, you’ll almost definitely enjoy The Exorcist. And if you’re a fan of The Conjuring and haven’t seen this Oscar-winner, you need to drop everything and watch it right now. Seriously!
The film follows a twelve-year-old girl named Regan (Linda Blair), who after playing with a Ouija board, starts acting… strange. And that’s putting it nicely. The new Regan swears like a sailor, pees on her mom’s rug in front of a bunch of strangers, and is able to lift ten times her body weight. It doesn’t take long for her mom (Ellen Burstyn) to discover that Regan is possessed by a demon. So if you like the satanic themes, jump scares, and all-around paranormal spookiness of The Conjuring, do yourself a favor and check out The Exorcist.
Available to stream on Showtime.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
If you remember the year that Paranormal Activity came out, you remember the moment that the horror community went into a total frenzy. The film follows a woman who is intent on confronting a demon that terrorized her when she was a kid. So, she decides to buy a Ouija board (if we’ve learned anything as horror veterans, it is that this is always a bad idea).
From there, things spin out into a fresh, supernatural hellscape. Paranormal Activity is also one of the movies that really championed the found-footage horror genre, so fans of The Conjuring who are looking to step a little out of their comfort zone, this one’s for you. Plus, if you love it, (which we know you will), the series has six installments (and counting).
Available to stream on Starz.
The Orphanage (2007)
Creepy kids in a haunted orphanage. What could possibly go wrong? J. A. Bayona’s criminally underrated The Orphanage follows Laura (Belén Rueda), a woman who returns to the orphanage she grew up in after her seven-year-old son, Simón (Roger Príncep), mysteriously goes missing.
What follows is one of the most frightening ghost stories of the 21st century. Fans of The Conjuring will love the film’s perfect storm of high-stakes mystery, hair-raising jump scares, and, of course, its striking window into the realm of the dead. And if for some reason those things aren’t enough for you, there is a creepy kid who wears a sack over his head throughout the entire film. Do with that information what you will.
Available to stream on Starz.
The Others (2001)
Not only is The Others a ghost story, but it’s a period piece ghost story. What more could fans of The Conjuring ask for?
The film follows Grace (Nicole Kidman), who is taking care of her two young children in a luxurious — and spooky — country house in the aftermath of World War II. Her kids are allergic to light, so the three are forced to spend every waking moment in the dark. Needless to say, not everything lurking in that darkness is exactly friendly.
The Others has jump scares, a gothic aesthetic that The Conjuring definitely drew some inspiration from, ghosts that come straight out of your nightmares, and Kidman rocking some pretty darn great outfits. What more could you need?
Available to stream on Max Go.
The Grudge (2004)
The Grudge is one of the very best horror films about an evil curse that haunts the living. Sound familiar, Conjuring fans? The film kick-started a massive horror franchise, not dissimilar to the Conjuring Universe, and is centered around a curse called the Grudge, which comes about when someone dies holding, well, a serious grudge.
Care worker Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) becomes a victim of the curse when she is hired to take care of Emma, an old woman plagued with Alzheimer’s. Quickly, Karen realizes there is a not-so-nice force lurking around Emma’s house. The Grudge might just be the mother of all evil curse movies, so it’s imperative that fans of The Conjuring give it a watch. Quick pro tip before you get started: whenever lights start flickering in the movie, just keep repeating to yourself: “It’s only a movie.”
Available to stream on Amazon Prime.