'The Nun' trailer has all the hallmarks of 'The Conjuring Universe' along with a heavy dose of jump scares
Set at a time well before the events of any of the films in the franchise, the story in 'The Nun' unravels in the remote and desolate convent of the Carța Monastery in Romania
The unexpected but altogether deserved success of James Wan's 'The Conjuring', which chronicled and provided a dramatized take on the life and times of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, meant that a new horror franchise was born: 'The Conjuring Universe.'
Since its 2013 release, audiences have also been treated to its sequel, 'Conjuring 2,' as well as two prequels, 'Annabelle' and 'Annabelle: Creation,' that have whet their appetite for spine-chilling terror. Now, Corin Hardy is back with 'The Nun.'
Based on a story written by James Wan and Gary Dauberman — the latter of who helped pen all the previous 'The Conjuring' spin-offs as well — the teaser trailer for the Warner Brothers-produced flick is out and ominously beckons to 'Pray for forgiveness.' Besides 'Annabelle,' none of the other films have disappointed audiences and initial signs point towards 'The Nun' being a gripping watch.
Those who follow the series will know demon Nun, Valak (Bonnie Aarons), made her bow in 'Conjuring 2,' proving to be the smokescreen and primary antagonist in the infamous Enfield haunting case that the Warrens were investigating. Her appearance was foreshadowed in Lorraine's nightmare, and fans were left intrigued and petrified in equal measure by the Nun's piercing, deep-set snake eyes, and terrifying demeanor.
She would go on to take center stage as the movie hurtled towards its heart-racing conclusion, and the fanfare that followed meant that a spin-off was a matter of when and not if.
The official synopsis reads: "When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in 'The Conjuring 2,' as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned."
As the teaser unspools, it insists 'Make sure you watch to the end,' and introduces you to the voice of Taissa Farmiga's Sister Irene who proclaims that every unsettling vision she had when was younger ended with the same thought in her head: that of an image of a demonic nun.
Set at a time well before the events of any of the films in the franchise, the story in 'The Nun' unravels in the remote and desolate convent of the Cârța Monastery in Romania, where Sister Irene and Father Burke (Demián Bichir) have been sent by the Vatican to investigate the mysterious suicidal death of a fellow nun in the monastery's abbey. Announced as 'the darkest chapter,' Father Burke translates a Latin phrase on one of the doors in the monastery. 'God ends here,' it menacingly warns.
The teaser is interspersed with the hard-hitting one-liners, dark and brooding outlook, heavy atmosphere, and breathtaking cinematography that became synonymous with the previous films in the franchise. The suspenseful music, composed by Abel Korzeniowski, and suggestive creaks and moans that have become a hallmark of the horror genre are very prevalent as well.
However, it also indicates that 'The Nun' has embraced a cheap and substandard scheme that has become a pervasive problem in the industry — jump scares. As the teaser closes out, we see Sister Irene hesitantly following a voice, only for a shadowy nun-like figure to stalk her from behind. But for whatever reason, this felt a little too obvious, and you just knew that the actual nun was going to jump out from somewhere else.
Lo and behold, she props out of a side entrance; nothing more than a poorly disguised jump scare masquerading as an attempt to allude to the unknown.
In doing so, 'The Nun' does a grave disservice to its critically-acclaimed predecessor 'The Conjuring.' The first film was lauded for shunning the obvious tricks of the trade such as ghosts or demons or exorcisms and, instead, adopting the so-called 'old school scares.'
'The Conjuring 2' had already marked the franchise's departure from its successful roots, with 'Annabelle' and 'Annabelle: Creation' following suit. Fans would have hoped that 'The Nun' marked a departure from such ploys, but the initial impressions suggest otherwise.
'The Nun' was initially scheduled to be released on July 13 next month but was moved to September 7 this February. The filmmakers, for their part, seem to be optimistic about the movie's performances at the box office, with Wan already discussing the possibility of a sequel and suggesting that it could "tie back to Lorraine's story that we've set up with the first two Conjurings and make it all come full circle."