"Reel REviews: The Nun is breaking records within own franchise" by: Jessica Shepard

   Even in its first week at theaters “The Nun” is breaking records within its own franchise and leading the box office worldwide at just over $133 million.
   The Nun is a spin-off of 2016’s The Conjuring 2, and the fifth installment in The Conjuring Universe.
   And while you don’t need to have seen the other Conjuring films, it helps you understand the plot a bit more – especially since the “nun” factors into all five films at one point or another, either in the background.
   The film mainly stars Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, and Jonas Bloquet.
   In 1952 Romania, two nuns living at the Cârța Monastery are attacked by an unseen demonic presence. 
   The surviving nun, Sister Victoria, flees from the attacker and hangs herself by jumping out a window. 
   Her body is discovered soon after by Frenchie (Bloquet), a man tasked with transporting supplies to the nuns.
   The Vatican learns of the incident and dispatches one its problem-solving priests, Father Burke (Bichir), to investigate, along with young novitiate Sister Irene (Farmiga).
   Now, there’s some conflict with sending a novitiate into a potentially demonic situation, but, it serves a point later in the film.
   Plus, as the movie progresses, you learn that there’s more to Sister Irene than your initial impressions and that’s one of the things I like best about this film: there are layers. 
   Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret.
   While 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.
   The pair travels to Romania and meets with Frenchie, who leads them to the abbey. 
   Upon arrival, they discover Sister Victoria’s body in a sitting position, despite Frenchie saying he laid her horizontally. 
   Then they remove a strange key from her corpse. 
   Once inside the abbey, they encounter the Abbess, who informs them that the nuns are having a vow of silence for the night but they can return the next day, offering lodging at the nearby convent.
   Frenchie is attacked by a nun’s corpse as he returns to the village but manages to escape. 
   Father Burke tells Sister Irene that a boy he exorcised was fatally injured during the exorcism and Burke has been carrying the guilt with himself ever since. 
   That night the demonic entity terrorizes the pair and Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the cemetery.
   They discover that the coffin is also filled with ancient books about demons.
   The next day, Irene and Burke return to the abbey, but only Irene can enter since it is cloistered. 
   She meets other nuns and learns that they pray constantly and change shifts to keep evil at bay.
   One nuns, Sister Oana, reveals the abbey’s history: it was built as a castle by a duke who was obsessed with the occult and the dark arts during the Dark Ages. 
   The duke summoned a demonic entity which emerged through a rift in the catacombs, but the nobleman was killed by Vatican troops who sealed the rift with an artifact containing the “blood of Jesus Christ.” 
   The effects of World War II bombings caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the same entity, which has the form of a nun and whom several nuns have spotted at night. 
   Meanwhile, in the chapel, Burke identifies the entity as Valak after reading a book found in the coffin; he discovers the Abbess has been dead all along and is chased by the evil entity in the form of the boy he exorcised.
   According to several sources, Valak is a demon and is has the power to locate, summon, and control serpents.
   We get a little look at that in the movie as well, so it seems the writer and director did their homework on that front.
   I’m not one for spoiling the films I see, but, you’ll definitely need to stick it out to the end.
   Actors Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Christof Veillon, and Lili Taylor appear in archive footage from The Conjuring as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the older Maurice Theriault, and Carolyn Perron, respectively.
   As with any horror film, there’s plenty of terror, dread, and violence, not to mention jump scares.
   Beyond that, it’s got the creepy and unnerving feeling that I’ve come to expect and love with Conjuring films.

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