The Nun takes place in 1952 Romania, where a Catholic priest and a novice are investigating the mysterious suicide of a nun. It is the fifth film in The Conjuring series and a spin-off of The Conjuring 2, which introduced the demonic nun character. Director Corin Hardy talked about the challenges of keeping the audience scared and his real-life encounter with ghosts.
THE NUN AND TENSION
“Everyone’s become very sophisticated to horror stories,” Hardy said. “And you see, it’s very hard to just try and keep someone unsure of what’s about to happen next. In a story, and in a lead up to a scare, for me, it’s a balance of trying to just keep an overall tension within the story and piece, regardless of whether the scares are going to jump out at you. Whether that kind of the overall atmosphere is feeling more and more ominous.”
“It helps that, if you’re feeling on edge, and you’re starting to grip the seats and get sweaty, and you don’t know whether there’s going to be a scare or if something’s going to come out of the shadows. And then also, it’s nice to not do that so that they don’t know. Oh God, I thought something was– And something comes from another place.”
THE NUN AND THE CONJURING
Hardy was already a fan of The Conjuring franchise when he came on to direct The Nun. “When I saw The Conjuring 2, I mean, I’m a devoted horror fan so I’ve seen all of [James Wan’s] movies. And I’d seen The Conjuring 2 at the cinema when it came out. I wasn’t thinking, I’m going to make that film. That was a few years ago. But I was definitely aware of the demon nun sort of being quite prominent. Especially, she wasn’t in it for very long. But she kind of stole the show in a sense.”
“So, when I got the script, I knew the character. I was curious to see where it would go and was excited to see where it went. And felt like it was going in a fresh direction and it was very much James Wan and Gary Dauberman, the writer’s, intention to take the universe in a slightly different direction. And that was enticing for me.”
THE NUN AND THE GHOSTS
During the filming of The Nun, Hardy had his own supernatural experience. “I had a run in with a couple of, what I assume were, Romanian ghosts. For real in the Mogo?oaia fortress where we were filming the corridor of crosses sequence. When Irene is making her way down towards this door that something left behind. And we were shooting in a real Romanian fortress, underground, in a tunnel in the dark.”
“Everything’s real, the walls are dripping with slime. I was based inside a room off the corridor in the darkness, a sealed room. As I went into the room, I saw a couple of guys I thought was sound guys, and it was very dark, low light. I said hello to them. And then I proceeded to watch the sequence that we were shooting. Trying quite hard to get a technical thing to work with a camera rotation. And that took a few takes and it was quite frustrating. And then when I finally got the shot I was quite elated, punched the air.”
“And I turned around to see if these two guys had seen the take and there was no one there. No one sitting in the room. No way in our out. And it was a moment which I can only explain genuinely as being some Romanian ghosts. I mean, it was a fortress.”
The Nun hits theaters September 7, 2018.