The Conjuring is one of my favorite horror films in recent memory, a spectacularly spooky tale from a director who understands how to toy with genre conventions in all the right ways to ensure his scares are as effective as possible. The film’s colossal box office take not only ensured that a sequel was all but inevitable, but New Line even took things a step further by developing Annabelle, a spinoff film about the possessed porcelain doll featured in the opening scene of The Conjuring.
Now, with The Conjuring 2 boasting a huge opening weekend and grossing more than $100 million worldwide in its first five days of release, New Line is moving forward with another spinoff, this time featuring the demonic nun who menaces Vera Farmiga’s character throughout the sequel. THR reports that The Conjuring 2 co-writer David Leslie Johnson will pen the script for The Nun, with director James Wan producing along with Peter Safran.
Curiously enough, the nun wasn’t part of Wan’s original vision for The Conjuring 2, and was only added during reshoots that took place just three months before the film was scheduled to open. The previous cut featured a demonic figure with horns as the primary antagonist, and the studio was already sold on that idea, but Wan pitched the alternate concept at the last minute and was given the go-ahead to switch things up.
Some portions of the film were able to be changed with a bit of digital wizardry, such as altering a painting that Patrick Wilson’s character is working on to show the demonic nun instead of the horned beast. Other scenes had to be re-shot to make sure the character could be seamlessly integrated into the final product.
With Annabelle grossing more than $256 million worldwide and spawning a sequel of its own, I can understand the appeal to expand the Conjuring franchise, but this seems like a pretty significant stretch. As Farmiga herself notes in the film, the demon nun is merely a facade, taking the form of something that is meant to cause Lorraine (Farmiga) to question her devout faith. There doesn’t seem like much of a story here, and hopefully New Line doesn’t completely derail the series with this gamble.
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