The Nun - 2018
Director(s): Corin Hardy
Writer(s): Gary Dauberman (screenplay) / James Wan and Gary Dauberman (story)
Cinematography by: Maxime Alexandre
Editor(s): Michel Aller and Ken Blackwell
Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu and Charlotte Hope
This marks the fifth installment in what has to be the most unlikely cinematic universe of all time, the Conjuring Universe. The Nun was foreshadowed in the Conjuring 2, as the all-powerful demon that is looming over Lorraine Warren’s visions and the one that could potentially bring them down. Not so soon after its release in 2016 and the massive success that followed, this prequel was greenlit. Look, I’m a big fan of the first Conjuring; it felt like a throwback to simple, effective scares that were elevated through long moments of tension-building sequences with a great pay off. But as these prequels that are meant to enrich the universe that surrounds the Warrens keep coming out, they fall back more and more to played out jump scares and overuse of CGI. The Nun is no exception.
The story centers around Cârța Monastery, located in an isolated part of Romania. The Vatican has sent Father Burke (Bichir) and novitiate Sister Irene (Farmiga) to investigate a recent death from one of the sisters living in the monastery. Once inside the monastery, things aren’t what they seem as the presence of evil has overtaken every corner and it will be a fight for survival to the very end. The scariest thing about this movie is how boringly predictable the scares and the story beats are. Even with the loudest sounds in the world coming before the jump-scare I didn’t flinch because they have done them so many times before that I called it before it happened. Also, the backstory given to the nun and the monastery made no sense and it was force-fed through voice over and choppy editing.
You know what this movie felt like? It was like walking through the haunted house of your local high school. Things that are universally deemed “scary” are jammed packed in every corner hoping that something will scare someone. The sixteen-year-old in charge of putting things together whipped out a checklist on a clip board and started assigning things to his team; “Ok Tommy, you get thirty mist machines. I want it extra misty. Sandy, we are going to need a shit-ton of crosses, like a borderline comedic amount, and some need to turn upside down. Alright I’m just going to rattle off things and whoever wants them, take them: empty graves, zombies, tombstones, loud noises, bodies with white sheets covering their faces, snakes, pentagrams, radio that turns on by itself, long hallways, candles that go out, loud noises. Guys this is going to be scary.” And it weirdly wasn’t even though they did everything a scary movie has done before. Weird.
It’s not only that the movie was predictable, boring and simply not scary, the characters were also bland and uninteresting. Father Burke, despite being the go-to investigator for the church, acts alike a novice of the supernatural and Sister Irene is just wondering the halls running after noises saying “Hello” or “Sister”. The worst one is the character they called Frenchie, a French-Canadian farmer living in Romania that helps them get in and out of the monastery. He feels like a riff on Sam Winchester from the TV series Supernatural as he uses a shotgun and an axe on the manifestations of the demon around him. To be fair to the actors, they weren’t given a lot to work with as the dialogue is filled with tropes - simplistic and repetitive, adding nothing to their backstory or motivation.
The Nun it’s, it’s… boooring. Predictable scares laid on top of a papier-mâché-like story structure, driven by bland characters that feel like watered down versions of great characters ripped from superior movies. I wouldn’t waste my time watching this movie and it doesn’t bode well for the movies they have in development for this cinematic universe. Mist machines is why I love movies.
The Nun is currently playing in theaters. It’s worth nun of your well-earned money.
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