Cinematic universes and film series with numerous spin-offs — in the vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — are all the rage these days. The primary example of this in the horror genre is the Conjuring film-universe, which, at this point in time, consists of eight films. This horror film cinematic universe was essentially launched by James Wan, who is probably one of the most influential horror filmmakers of the last ten years, and his films in the series — The Conjuring I and II — are, frankly, the best and most memorable films in the entire film series. For that reason, I was very nervous when I heard that he would step away from the franchise and let Michael Chaves, who directed The Curse of La Llorona (which I really did not like), continue, or potentially finish, the titular series of films in the Conjuring film-universe. After having now seen the third main-line Conjuring-film, I can say that even though it is nowhere near as good as Wan’s films, Chaves’ second film in this film universe is admittedly significantly better than his previous film.
Directed by Shaka King — Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King.
Next week, Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah may have become the winner of one or multiple Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards, which, in theory, was supposed to honor the best films of 2020, in spite of the fact that this film was released in 2021. This is the result of a change to this Oscar season’s eligibility period due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and this now means that select films released in early 2021 may also qualify to compete against 2020 films at the Oscars.
In general, this was a rule change that I am very much against as I absolutely do think that there are enough good films from 2020 that the Academy should honor, instead of adopting some odd eligibility window for the sake of giving more time to studios to release films that absolutely could’ve competed at the 94th Academy Awards instead. Regardless, I actually highly recommend Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, and, if it had been released in 2020, it probably would be one of my favorite films of that year.