Simple Review- Nunoriginal
Way back in 2016, “The Conjuring 2″ introduced one of the creepiest horror characters I have seen in a long time. The funny part was that she wasn’t even the main villain in the movie. Her moments were brief but memorable, a sure sign of her receiving her own film. Hence, ‘The Nun” was anointed the next film, and villain, in “The Conjuring” universe, and I could not wait to see what this demonic nun had to unleash on her audience. Were my prayers answered? Or was my faith shaken? Read on to find out, and see more religious puns!
The year is 1952 and a young nun has had a mysterious death in a remote Romanian abbey. The Vatican sends Father Burke ( Damián Bichir), a religious miracle investigator, and novitiate, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), who has the gift of visions, to investigate the death and whatever evil forces may be behind it. Little do they know, they are heading to face a demon unlike any they can imagine. I may give more spoilers than my normal reviews because there is a lot to unpack here.
To start I have to admit I was really looking forward to this movie. I have enjoyed all of the ” Conjuring” movies, with the exception of the first ” Annabelle” movie, and was legitimately creeped out by the Nun when she first appears in this film series. I have to say, I was very disappointed by “The Nun”. There was so much potential with this character that is was deflating to get a cut and paste horror movie. I was more scared of the Nun walking out of ” The Conjuring 2″ than I was walking out of this movie, and she was the main villain!
As always, I will start with the positives that “The Nun” offers us. I liked the cast and what they brought to each of their roles. Taissa Farmiga gives Sister Irene an innocence and strength that makes us both want her to find the answers she is looking for, and, also, be terrified for her while she goes on her search. This is an excellent balance for the main protagonist in a horror movie to have. It helps the audience to invest in her and makes the scares that much more threatening. Damián Bichir does a fine job as the stoic Father Burke, who has to deal with a failure from his past that The Nun uses as a weapon against him. Jonas Bloquet plays a character named Frenchie, that, at first, was kind of annoying. However, to the credit of Jonas, it is not long before he becomes a fun character. He represents the voice of the audience, questioning why they have to go further into the scary place, as well as having the sense to bring a shotgun along with him. The lead villain, The Nun, is played by Bonnie Aarons the best she can. Her best scenes are when she is standing still with a menacing look on her face. Her worst parts are when she is growling and baring her teeth like some lame vampire, but will get to that momentarily.
The film has its best moments when it strays from the jump scares and uses subtle, creepy images or movements to scare us. I give director Corin Hardy credit for those moments that he resists the cheap jump scare and lets the naturally eerie atmosphere of the abbey, as well as the frightening look of the Nun, draw us in. There were more gasps and nervous noises from the audience I was in at those moments than anything from the jump scares. He does give us both beautiful and scary images on the screen, as well as revealing the mysteries of the abbey at a nice pace to keep one from getting bored. At a little more than an hour and a half long, you won’t get restless or feel any dragging of the story.
Now we have reached the point in this blog I know you can’t wait to get to, the negatives. This movie can’t decide if it wants to be a creepy movie or a jump scare fest. I would have preferred the former. As I said earlier, the best moments when the Nun is onscreen are when she is in the background of the scene looking terrifying. Then she bares her vampire-looking teeth and howls and growls and she becomes, frankly, silly. That’s the biggest sin of this film, it doesn’t do its main villain justice. Everything that made her scary in ” The Conjuring 2″ isn’t in this film. She also has this musical theme that announces her presence that made me think of the Emperor’s theme in the throne room during ” Return of the Jedi.” There were moments I kept waiting for her to say ” I feel your anger”.( That there is a Star Wars joke in a review for a horror movie, you won’t get that anywhere else, baby)
The rest of the negatives fall into this movie following the same lame issues most new horror movies have. Have I mentioned cheap jump scares? Don’t get me wrong, I like a good jump scare, but when it happens constantly in a movie you just get numb to it. Of course, you have characters doing really dumb things, or showing up at the right moment to save the day. Sister Irene has these visions that she can use like a superhero to help her allies in situations that she could not possibly be able to find them. That there is lazy writing. Speaking of lazy writing, the movie does a poor job of explaining itself. You get the basic idea of how the demon came to be, but not why things happen, or how some things work against the evil spirits sometimes but not others. What details you get are by characters introduced to give exposition, then they are not around anymore. You lose track of who is who among the supporting cast. Last but not least, there are no real feelings of threat to the main heroes. When the Nun does attack them you never feel like they are not going to survive. Not only does that hurt the movie, but it takes all the fear out of the character of the Nun.
To wrap up this rambling, I so wanted this film to scare the hell out of me. I loved the character of the Nun when we first met her, but this film does nothing to add to her dread. This could have been a great bit of religious horror, instead, it is just another in a long line of formulaic horror movies that Hollywood spoon feeds us every month or two. Just wait to catch this one on DVD or whatever streaming service you use.
Feel free to comment below and let me know what you thought of ” The Nun.” Perhaps you should like and follow this blog as well, so you will never miss a moment of my brilliance again!
Again, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho