The Nun (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Corin Hardy|
|Screenplay by||Gary Dauberman|
|Music by||Abel Korzeniowski|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$365.6 million|
The Nun is a 2018 American gothic supernatural horror film directed by Corin Hardy and written by Gary Dauberman, from a story by Dauberman and James Wan. A spin-off of 2016's The Conjuring 2, and the fifth installment in The Conjuring Universe, the film stars Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet. The plot follows a Roman Catholic priest and a nun in her novitiate as they uncover an unholy secret in 1952 Romania.
Principal photography began in May 2017 in Bucharest, Romania, and during filming, the set was blessed by a Roman Catholic clergyman. The Nun was released in the United States on September 7, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It received generally mixed reviews, with praise for its performances and atmosphere, but criticism for its weak narrative and over-reliance on jump-scares. Despite this, it was a major box office success, grossing $365 million worldwide, thus becoming the highest-grossing film of the series.
In 1952 Romania, two Roman Catholic nuns living at the Saint Cartha's monastery are attacked by an unseen force when they enter a tunnel to retrieve an ancient Christian relic. The surviving nun, Sister Victoria, flees from the attacker, a demon appearing as a nun, and hangs herself. Her body is discovered by Frenchie, a villager who transports supplies to the nuns.
The Vatican learns of the incident and summons Father Burke to Rome, where they ask him to travel with Sister Irene, a nun in her novitiate, to Romania in order to investigate the situation. While Sr. Irene is teaching children the relationship between religion and science in a school, her Mother Superior interrupts her and informs her that Burke has arrived in order to request Irene's accompaniment in his trip to Romania.
The pair travel to Romania and meet with Frenchie, who leads them to the abbey. They discover Victoria's body and remove a key from her corpse. Inside, they encounter the Abbess, who informs them that the nuns observe a period of silence during the night and offers them lodging at the attached convent if they wish to return the next day. Frenchie is attacked by a demon as he returns to the village, but escapes. Burke tells Irene that a boy he exorcised, Daniel, was fatally injured during the exorcism, and Burke has carried the burden of the boy's death with him ever since. Irene reveals that as a girl, she had visions particularly of a nun, causing the Church to take an interest in her. Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the graveyard by the demonic entity.
The next day, Irene and Burke return to the abbey, but only Irene can enter as it is cloistered. She meets some of the other nuns and learns that they are praying constantly, swapping in shifts, to keep the entity at bay. Sister Oana reveals the abbey's history: it was built in the Middle Ages as a castle by a duke who was obsessed with the occult. The duke summoned the demonic entity through a rift in the catacombs but was killed by Christian knights, who sealed the rift with an artifact containing the blood of Jesus Christ. The bombings during the Second World War caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the entity. Burke identifies the entity as Valak and discovers the Abbess has been dead all along.
Frenchie heads back to the abbey to help Irene and Burke. Irene is attacked by Valak and joins the nuns in desperate prayer to fend off the demon. When the group reunites, Irene discovers that none of the nuns she had seen and talked to were real and she had been praying alone, later realizing that Victoria had been the last nun in the abbey and had sacrificed herself to stop Valak from possessing her body and unleashing evil.
Theorizing that Valak can only be stopped if they seal the rift with the blood of Christ contained in the reliquary, the trio retrieves the vial with the key Victoria had. Irene then informs Burke that God has called her to make her solemn vows as a nun and asks Burke to elevate her to the status of a professed nun, which he does in the abbey's chapel.
After the trio unlocks the tunnel door, Irene is lured into a pentagram and possessed by Valak. Frenchie smears some of the blood of Christ on her face, casting out the demon. Burke is wounded by Daniel's ghost as Valak starts to drown Irene in a flooded chamber. Irene expels the blood of Christ in the demon's face, banishing it as the blood of Christ seals the rift. After Frenchie resuscitates Irene, he reveals his real name is Maurice. Unbeknownst to the others, Maurice has been possessed by Valak, as evidenced by an inverted cross on his neck.
Twenty years later at a university seminar, Carolyn Perron watches as Ed and Lorraine Warren present footage of their attempt to exorcise a possessed Maurice. In the footage, Maurice grabs Lorraine, giving her visions of Ed dying, which initiate the Warrens' investigation of the Hodgson household haunting, as well as their encounter with Valak itself.
- Demián Bichir as Father Burke
- Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene
- Jonas Bloquet as Maurice "Frenchie" Theriault
- Bonnie Aarons as Valak / The Nun
Additionally, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Christof Veillon, and Lili Taylor appear in archive footage from The Conjuring as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the older Maurice Theriault, and Carolyn Perron, respectively.
On June 15, 2016, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema announced The Nun, a spin-off film to The Conjuring 2, which had opened five days earlier. Peter Safran and James Wan produced. The initial script for the film was written by David Leslie Johnson. On February 17, 2017, it was announced that Corin Hardy had signed on to direct The Nun with a new screenplay from Wan and Gary Dauberman. During the filming of Annabelle: Creation, Safran revealed that The Nun would chronologically come first in The Conjuring Universe, making it a further prequel to The Conjuring series and Annabelle series. He said, "We have a board that we created that has what we hope will ultimately be our series of movies. We have it in chronological order, so we can keep track of where it all happens."
On April 5, 2017, Demián Bichir was cast in the film, as a priest investigating a nun's mysterious suicide. Taissa Farmiga was cast shortly after, as a Roman Catholic nun in her novitiate. Corin Hardy later said that he initially did not want to cast Farmiga due to her being the sister of The Conjuring star Vera Farmiga, but changed his mind when he saw her auditions, "I watched 100 auditions for this role and she had some kind of presence outside of her own body that is evident, and she's phenomenal." Bonnie Aarons was then set to reprise her role as the "Demon Nun" character Valak from The Conjuring 2. Charlotte Hope, Jonas Bloquet, and Ingrid Bisu were subsequently announced to star, rounding out the main cast.
Principal photography for the film began on May 3, 2017, at Castel Film Studios in Bucharest, Romania, with Maxime Alexandre serving as cinematographer. Film director Corin Hardy had a Roman Catholic priest bless the set prior to filming. Scenes were filmed in the Palace of the Parliament building in June, for a fee of €5,000 per hour. Filming also took place at the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara and in Sighișoara, Transylvania. Hardy saw a handprint in the dust while filiming in Mogoșoaia, which he believed to be that of a ghost. Hardy announced on his social media accounts that production had wrapped on June 23, 2017, after 38 days.[contradictory]
Warner Bros. Pictures had initially scheduled The Nun to be released in the United States on July 13, 2018. In February 2018, it was announced that the film's release date would be pushed back to September 7, 2018. On June 13, 2018, a teaser trailer was released. In August 2018, a short advertisement for the film was removed from YouTube due to an unskippable jump scare that violated the platform's "Shocking Content" policies. The film was released on Digital HD on November 20, 2018 and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2018.
The Nun has grossed $117.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $248.1 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $365.6 million, against a production budget of $22 million.
In the United States and Canada, The Nun was released alongside Peppermint and God Bless the Broken Road, and was originally projected to gross $32–37 million in its opening weekend. By the week of its release, forecasts had been increased to $36–45 million from 3,876 theaters. It made $22.4 million on its first day, including $5.4 million from Thursday night previews, both the highest such numbers for The Conjuring films. It went on to debut to $53.8 million, also marking the best figure of the franchise, and became the first film in almost a month to finish ahead of Crazy Rich Asians at the box office.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 26% based on 167 reviews, and an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic, and narrative slackness." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest of the series.
The Plugged In review for the film summarized the spirituality evident in the film: "Evil is real, the movie tells us, but so is God. Spiritual trappings are everywhere. And when in doubt or danger, you can't go wrong with a little prayer." In her review of the film published in the National Catholic Reporter, Sr. Rose Pacatte, a nun belonging to the Daughters of St. Paul, stated "that there are two Catholic theological aspects of this film that are accurate: one is that the devil exists, and the other is that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, will show us the way." Another religious sister, Nicole Reich, stated in her review of the film published on Syfy Wire that if Valak was a real demon, he would never be able to reveal himself while the "sisters were in perpetual adoration...because the Lord was present".
On August 12, 2017, Wan discussed a possibility for a Nun sequel and what its storyline may cover: "I do know where potentially, if The Nun works out, where The Nun 2 could lead to and how that ties back to Lorraine's story that we've set up with the first two Conjurings and make it all come full circle."
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