Now that it's September, the start to the fall season has officially begun. For some, that means they need to run to Starbucks to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and for others that means they need to run to the movie theater to see a horror movie in preparation for Halloween. The Nun, which comes out Sept. 7, is the perfect scary movie to go see this weekend, but it isn't exactly a standalone movie as it focuses on a spooky demon from The Conjuring 2. That doesn't mean that you need to see The Conjuring movies before you see The Nun, though, since since The Nun is a prequel.
As far as what The Nun serves as a prequel to, that's when things get complicated. The Conjuring's first movie from 2013 led to a whole series of sequels, prequels, and now spin-off movies, and horror fans can rejoice because the Conjuring universe officially rivals the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While you saw the demon nun from The Nun in The Conjuring 2, the spooky character also shows up in 2017's Annabelle: Creation. Since the 2017 Annabelle movie is a prequel to The Conjuring, The Nun is a prequel to that prequel. Call it a pre-prequel if you will, and a terrifying one at that.
You may not need to see The Conjuring movies or their spinoff, Annabelle: Creation, but it couldn't hurt to see them before seeing The Nun. You can stream The Conjuring on Netflix now, and you'll find Annabelle: Creation on the Cinemax channel on Amazon Prime. You can rent each of the previously released movies from the Conjuring Universe either on Amazon Prime or iTunes, too.
Out of all of the Conjuring and Annabelle movies that you could stream before seeing The Nun, the movie that you should prioritize is The Conjuring 2. In The Conjuring 2, which is set 25 years after The Nun, two paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren inspect a haunted house in England. Lorraine, who has clairvoyant powers, has multiple visions of a demonic nun named Valak. As you can probably deduce, Valak plays a major role in The Nun, in which that same demon nun haunts a nun-in-training named Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) in a Romanian monastery in 1952.
The Nun will give you plenty of opportunities to see more of the haunting image of Valak which first appears in The Conjuring 2 during Lorraine's visions. Valak also appears in a few background Easter eggs in Annabelle: Creation, and in a post-credits scene which previews the terrifying sight of Valak walking through the dark halls of the Romanian abbey.
In many ways, The Conjuring 2 will give you a good idea of what you can probably expect from The Nun, which is, in a word: freaky. Something about the cold, dark skin and the shadowy movements of the demonic nun makes that particular ghost memorable in the worst way possible. It will haunt your dreams, but if you're into that kind of thing, then The Nun is essential viewing to kick off Halloween season.