14 of the Best Horror movies about Nuns and Convents

Lately, it seems that movies about nuns and convents have been capturing more attention. In the last few years we’ve had at least 5 mainstream horror movie releases in this subgenre (which is almost have of my list). Often set against the backdrop of creaky old buildings and isolated locations, these films know how to set the tone, even if they don’t always turn out the best. Personally, this subgenre isn’t typically one of my favorites since I just don’t feel drawn to these types of horror stories. But I can’t deny the thrill that religious horror brings to the table when it’s executed well. So, while nuns in horror might not usually be my go-to, I’m excited to share some standout movies from this category. Let’s explore these tales where holy meets horror!

1. The Nun (2018)

Kicking off our list is The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy. This spine-chilling installment in “The Conjuring” universe takes us to a secluded Romanian abbey haunted by a demonic nun. Starring Taissa Farmiga and Demián Bichir, the film explores the origins of the malevolent entity we first encountered in The Conjuring 2. With its shameless jump scares and creepy imagery, The Nun sets the stage for unholy terror.

2. The Devils (1971)

Travel back to the 17th century with “The Devils,” directed by Ken Russell. This historical horror film unfolds in a French convent, where mass hysteria and demonic possession run rampant. Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed deliver powerful performances, making this controversial yet captivating film a must-watch for those seeking horror with a historical twist.

3. St. Agatha (2018)

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, St. Agatha offers a sinister portrayal of a pregnant woman seeking refuge in a convent. As she discovers the dark secrets hidden within, the film takes unexpected turns. Sabrina Kern’s gripping performance and the atmospheric tension make “St. Agatha” a psychological horror gem that delves into the macabre mysteries of the convent.

4. The Nun’s Story (1959)

Stepping into classic territory, “The Nun’s Story,” directed by Fred Zinnemann, tells a different kind of tale. Starring Audrey Hepburn as Sister Luke, the film explores the internal struggles of a nun facing challenges to her faith and identity. While not a traditional horror, the psychological depth and Hepburn’s stellar performance make it a hauntingly poignant addition to our list.

5. The Little Hours (2017)

For a darkly comedic twist on convent life, check out “The Little Hours,” directed by Jeff Baena. This unconventional film takes a hilarious approach to the medieval convent setting, with Alison Brie and Dave Franco leading a star-studded cast. While more comedic than outright horror, its unique take on nuns and convent life earns it a spot for those seeking a lighter, yet still unconventional, experience.

6. The Other Hell (1981)

Venture into the realm of exploitation horror with “The Other Hell,” directed by Bruno Mattei. This Italian cult classic explores demonic possession and murder within a convent. With a blend of supernatural horror and exploitation elements, it’s a gritty and unsettling journey into the unholy.

7. The Nun II (2023)

The Nun franchise continues with a direct sequel to the 2018 movie mentioned above. Directed by Michael Chaves, this sequel dives back into the eerie world of a demonic nun. Set in 1956 France, the story follows Sister Irene as she confronts the same malevolent force from the first film. Taissa Farmiga returns to star, once again bringing lots of depth and intensity to the role. Though it’s not as strong as the first movie, it’s still worth a watch if you’re a fan.

8. Consecration (2023)

“Consecration” is a chilling blend of mystery and horror set in a remote convent in Scotland. Directed by Christopher Smith, the movie follows a woman investigating her brother’s mysterious death, which the church claims was a suicide. Jena Malone stars, delivering a powerful performance as she uncovers dark secrets and faces terrifying forces. This film will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat!

9. Prey for the Devil (2022)

For fans of exorcism and intense horror, “Prey For The Devil” offers a gripping story. Directed by Daniel Stamm, this film introduces a unique twist where a nun trains to become an exorcist in a world overrun by demonic possessions. Jacqueline Byers stars, portraying a determined and brave nun who faces the ultimate evil.

10. Sister Death (2023)

“Sister Death” is a spooky film that blends horror with supernatural elements, directed by Paco Plaza. Set in a haunted orphanage, the story centers around a nun with the ability to see ghosts. This Spanish film, starring Aria Bedmar, takes you on a terrifying journey through the past and present as dark secrets unravel. It’s perfect for those who love ghost stories with a historical twist.

11. Dark Waters (1993)

“Dark Waters” is a cult classic that explores the depths of ancient evil hidden within a secluded island convent. Directed by Mariano Baino, this film tells the story of a woman investigating her father’s mysterious donations to a sinister convent. With its atmospheric tension and haunting visuals, Louise Salter stars in this dark, gothic horror that’s sure to keep you captivated.

12. The Devil’s Doorway (2018)

In “The Devil’s Doorway,” directed by Aislinn Clarke, two priests document their investigation of a reported miracle in an Irish home for ‘fallen women’ and uncover something much more horrifying. This found-footage film effectively uses its historical 1960s setting to heighten the sense of dread. Lalor Roddy stars, bringing an intense authenticity to this disturbing journey into a dark past.

13. Immaculate (2024)

Starring Syndey Sweeney and directed by Michael Mohan, Immaculate is a solid addition to the nun & convent subgenre of horror. Sydney stars as an American nun who embarks on a new journey when she joins a remote convent in the Italian countryside. However, her warm welcome quickly turns into a living nightmare when she discovers her new home harbours a sinister secret and unspeakable horrors. Though the pacing is a bit slow, the last act will have you on the edge of your seat!

14. The First Omen (2024)

The First Omen has become one of my favorite Nun horror movies! It’s a prequel to the 1976 classic horror movie The Omen. Very similar to Immaculate, this story also follows an American nun embarking on a new journey as she joins a remote convent in Italy. Nell Tiger Free gives an amazing performance in the lead role and I can’t wait to see her in more films. The pacing is quicker, it’s more disturbing, and the story gave me everything I felt I was missing form Immaculate. So I highly recommend it.

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