A chilling addition to The Conjuring films
The Vatican sends novice nun Taissa Farmiga and seasoned priest Demián Bichir to investigate the suicide of a nun in 1952 Romania.
This chiller is the fifth instalment in the so-called Conjuring Universe, which started with 2013’s The Conjuring, inspired by the supposed real-life cases of husband-and-wife ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, the creepy-doll films Annabelle (2014) and Annabelle: Creation (2017) and 1970s-London-set horror movie The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (2016).
Here, we learn the origin of the demonic spectre that gave Vera (Taissa’s older sister) Farmiga’s Lorraine the willies in the last film. It begins at a hysterical pitch with a desperate young nun killing herself at a remote abbey in a bid to prevent the evil entity, Valak, finding a human host.
Together with local guide Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), Farmiga and Bichir are soon up to their eyes in nightmarish horror.
Experienced fans of the genre will know what to expect. Spooky crypts and graveyards, upside-down crosses that burst into flames and supernatural floods of blood – plus the obligatory quota of jump scares.
Though this movie might make you jump less than its predecessors, British director Corin Hardy gives the film an effectively eerie mood (the sound design, with its ghostly exhalations and squelchy snaps, is particularly telling) and makes the most of the startlingly ghastly looks of Bonnie Aarons’ eponymous villain.