When James Wan unleashed The Conjuring in 2013, he helped to re-invent the ‘haunted house’ horror genre, along with Insidious, which Wan also directed. While it wasn’t as warmly received by critics, The Conjuring 2 was the rare sequel that managed to maintain the overall level of quality of its predecessor. Even when Annabelle, the first attempt at a spin-off, faltered, director David F. Sandberg righted the ship with a superior sequel, Annabelle: Creation.
The creative and executive forces behind The Conjuring franchise should be pretty happy right now with the fifth film, The Nun, set to be released later this week. It has to be the closest thing to a low-risk investment as you can ask for in the movie business. As part of a successful franchise and featuring a villain previously introduced, The Nun is set to terrify audiences in theatres across North America.
What Is It About and When Is It Coming Out?
Fans of The Conjuring franchise should already be familiar with both the The Nun’s basic premise and its titular demon. To date, ‘The Nun’ has appeared in both The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle: Creation. Set for a major theatrical release this Friday, September 7, The Nun is a spin-off film and the fifth entry in the expanded Conjuring universe. According to the official synopsis on The Nun’s IMDb page:
A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Who’s Making It?
Fortunately for fans of The Conjuring expanded universe, this spin-off is in pretty good hands. The screenplay was written by Gary Dauberman, who can already boast writing credits for the Annabelle spin-offs and It. Dauberman collaborated with horror veteran James Wan on the general story for The Nun. Director Corin Hardy has a limited filmography, but did recently helm the Irish horror film The Hallow, which was a surprisingly strong first outing. In short, The Nun is the fifth film in a shared universe that seems to be in very capable hands.
Who’s In It?
Fans of American Horror Story will recognize the film’ star Tessa Farmiga, who plays the novice nun, Sister Irene, assisting with the investigation. Farmiga has consistently proven to be a strong actor who can easily steal any scene. Demian Bichir plays the other principal character, Father Burke. Bichir may not be instantly recognizable to North American audiences, but the Mexican actor has carved out some impressive supporting performances in films with which audiences should be familiar including The Hateful Eight and Alien: Covenant.
What Do The Trailers and Promotional Material Tell Us
The short answer – not much. Aside from confirming the basic premise and setting a general tone, promotional material for The Nun has avoided the recent nagging trend of trailers giving away too many major plot points. Given the built-in and widespread familiarity with both The Conjuring universe and this particular character, Warner Bros Pictures hasn’t had to do as much to sell the picture. Much like the Annabelle films, audiences already want to see The Nun.
Even without the need for a massive campaign, The Nun scored arguably the best marketing for which a horror film could ask. In mid-August, YouTube removed a brief ‘jump scare’ ad for The Nun following numerous complaints that it was too scary and violated the video site’s ‘shocking content policy’. The cynic in me wonders whether this was in fact a manufactured ‘complaint’. Nonetheless, it’s an absolutely fantastic stroke of luck for Warner Bros Pictures and The Conjuring universe.
Is It Worth Seeing in Theatres?
Yes, and was there any point in even asking this question. You know you’re going to see it. Universal Pictures should be taking notes if they have any plans on ever trying to revive their Dark Universe. As long as The Nun isn’t outright terrible and/or bombs at the box office, Warner Bros has a formula that could see several additional films being produced within The Conjuring universe. What other paranormal investigations conducted by Ed and Lorraine Warren might make worthy additions and, as a result, prompt their own spin-offs. The options are potentially limitless.