Halloween has just passed and we’re already looking ahead to the cozy delights of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it seems that 2020 won’t let us stop thinking of horror quite so easily. That’s because 2018’s The Nun is currently rocketing up the Netflix streaming charts, proving that audiences are still in the mood for terrifying supernatural thrills as it sits as the 10th most-watched movie globally today.
While it’s a bit surprising that viewers are tuning back into the pic so long after its release, it’s important to remember that it’s a spinoff from the hugely successful and influential Conjuring films, exploring the story of Demon Nun Valak from The Conjuring 2, who’s still a very popular trick or treating costume. In addition, The Nun arrived in theaters on the back of an effective publicity campaign, including some cool stories in the press about ghostly activity on the location shoot.
According to director Corin Hardy, he was busy working on a shot in an abandoned fort and saw some mysterious figures lurking in the shadows. At first, he assumed they were simply crew members, but was spooked when he realized he was completely alone. Then he did some research and found that there was a history of sightings of long-dead soldiers at the fort. Proof of the supernatural, or merely great marketing? You be the judge.
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The Nun went on to become the highest-grossing entry in The Conjuring franchise, notching up an impressive $365 million at the box office against a $22 million budget. Figures like those made a sequel a foregone conclusion, with producer Peter Safran saying that there’s an “inevitability to another Nun movie.” And sure enough, in April 2019, it was announced that American Horror Story writer Akela Cooper is on script duties for the follow-up and has come up with a “really fun” continuation of the plot. On the other side of the lens, Bonnie Adams is confirmed to reprise her role as the titular demonic nun.
Personally, I liked The Nun for being a straightforward horror movie that was well aware of genre conventions, though in my opinion was way too reliant on jump scares to be a true classic. That said, the fact that it was like a theme park ride made it a fun watch with a receptive (i.e. slightly drunk) audience. Here’s hoping the sequel learns from the lessons of the original and spins a truly bone-chilling yarn.