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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


“The Nun” starts horror movie season with a scream

“The Nun” antagonist, a demon named Valak. The fifth installment in “The Conjuring” series premiered in theaters Sept. 7. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS CC0 1.0

Whether you’re clinging to the last few days of summer or clutching your pumpkin spice latte in excitement for the upcoming season, there’s no denying that fall is coming and with the fall comes a time-honored, seasonal tradition — horror movies.

The fifth installment in “The Conjuring” franchise opened last weekend to a staggering $53.5 million in North America alone, coming in second behind the thriller, “It” (2017), for top September launches in North America. With a $77.5 million launch weekend in 60 global markets, “The Nun” found itself at $131 million in ticket sales for its opening weekend — all with a $22 million budget.

Set in the Romanian countryside in 1952, “The Nun” follows Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) as they investigate the Vatican’s safety concerns involving an abbey deep in the woods after the suicide of one of its nuns. With the assistance of Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), the local farmhand who discovered the body, the trio dives head first into unraveling the mysteries of this most unholy land.  

Director Corin Harby delivers a thrilling prequel to “The Conjuring” storyline, delving into the past and origin of the familiar demon, Valak. With a few flashes of Valak in “The Conjuring 2,” fans were eager to finally gain some insight on the terrifying entity that has haunted Ed and Lorraine Warren (and surely viewers) since his first appearance.

One of the most chilling features of “The Conjuring” series is not the jump scares, the terrifying special effects or the horrifying vision of Valak; it is the fact that Ed and Lorraine Warren are real paranormal investigators. While the films aren’t an exact replica of their investigations, the stories and characters draw heavily from their real life experiences. While the pair has never faced Valak before, the demon’s design was based around an entity that has haunted Lorraine in her home.

Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics only gave “The Nun” a 27 percent rating, though audiences seemed to disagree. Google audiences scored it a decent 86 percent. The movie still performed just fine despite the low critic score — its $131 million launch has landed “The Conjuring” series the coveted honor of being the biggest R-rated horror series of all time at $1.33.5 billion. With titles like “The Conjuring 3,” “Annabelle 3”  and “The Crooked Man” in the series’ future, we can only expect more records will be broken.

Though Ed Warren passed in 2006, the Warren family still participates in the world of the paranormal through their Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. There, you can see videos and artifacts from their investigations, including some well-known objects from the movie franchise, most famously, the real Annabelle doll.

For the truly brave at heart, the Warren Occult Museum in Connecticut will be hosting a once in a lifetime event for die-hard horror fans: an Evening with Annabelle. Just a few days before Halloween, on Oct. 26, those who aren’t afraid will get to set eyes on the real doll that inspired it all — just don’t forget to sign that liability form.

Whether you watch the film through the hands over your eyes or you’re brave enough to spend a night with Annabelle, there’s no denying that “The Nun” will be a staple of this fall season. As audiences flock in mass to see the year’s top thriller, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more people leaving the lights on in their dorms at bedtime!

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