Director: Carin Hardy
Notable cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Ingrid Bisu.
My first exposure to this movie was not a pleasant one. I was one of the people who saw that first teaser trailer that was taken off YouTube ads because it was deemed “too scary,” which I totally agree with.
For those who don’t know, one of the teaser trailers debuted on YouTube. The trailer shows a screen with the audio icon that appears when you turn down the volume.
After the volume appears to be clicked down a couple times, the face of the nun appears, loudly screaming in a very effective jump-scare.
So to say the least, it wasn’t on my list to watch. In fact the only reason I did was because a friend suggested it after dinner. He’d already seen it once that day and I figured it would be pretty good if he was willing to see it twice only a few hours apart.
The Conjuring universe was introduced to audiences back in 2013 with the first movie, aptly named “The Conjuring.” It was in this film that we met Lorraine and Ed Warren, paranormal investigators, based on real people, who help a family with the haunting of their home.
Since that first movie, horror fans were given movie after movie, diving deep into the work of this paranormal investigating couple and the origins of the evils they encounter.
This movie dives into the story of a demon called Valak who was also the evil tended to in the second “Conjuring” movie.
In terms of the movie itself, the screenplay felt surprisingly fresh considering the demon in question had already had a movie centered around it.
The film begins when Father Burke (Demián Bichir), a priest, who later calls his job “miracle hunting,” is sent along with young novitiate, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), to a castle outside a small village in Romania to investigate a young nun’s suicide. The two are tasked with finding out if the grounds are still holy.
Needless say, they find out almost immediately that the grounds are indeed, no longer holy.
The two are shown to the Abbey by a young Frenchman — affectionately called Frenchie — who found the nun’s body while delivering supplies.
The two show up, talk to the abbess and stay to find out as much as they can before sending Frenchie away to fetch them in a few days.
While there, they uncover the dark history of the castle while trying to find out what happened there years ago and how to send back the evil that has taken up residence.
While I wish I could say I watched every bit of this movie unabashedly, I did not. Thankfully, the music gives just enough warning to where I could close my eyes before the many jump scares.
Aside from the terrifying bits, the movie, like all the other “Conjuring” movies, is beautiful to watch. There’s something ethereal about the films and how they’re shot. “Beautfully haunting” is how I like to decribe it. The colors and the settings are always interesting and terrifying.
This movie is also incredibly creative. I loved how the castle is set up with all of the crosses circling the perimeter, leading to one character mentioning how they think the crosses are meant to keep evil in instead of out.
The nunnery that Sister Irene and Father Burke has happy photos of all the nuns hanging on the walls, all in their same habits. It manages to come off as happy, sad and scary at the same time.
The attention to detail, the story and the creativity of this movie really makes it a full experience.
I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys horror but not a lot of blood. There is no boring exposition and the movie doesn’t lollygag around before getting to the real villain.
Though anyone who has seen “The Conjuring 2” can guess what happens at the very end, every second up until the very end is still interesting and unexpected.