'The Nun' Review
September 13, 2018
Over the last five years, the Conjuring Universe has taken the horror genre by storm. This has been made possible by having great directing and inventive scares that defy expectations. The Nun, the newest film in the series, has none (pun intended) of those quality traits. Instead, it ends up being one of the most generic and forgettable horror films in recent memory.
Set in 1952 Romania, the body of a young nun is found outside a monastery. The nun committed suicide by hanging, but the purpose is unknown. The Vatican sends Father Burke and Sister Irene to investigate the nun’s death and find out if the monastery is still holy ground. Once there, Burke and Irene are met with many different types of supernatural evil, all of which spawn from a spirit that has been recently awoken.
Marking only his second feature, director Corin Hardy fails miserably to make this film different than other supernatural horror films. He relies way too heavily on jump scares and doesn’t establish a creepy atmosphere. Despite having only a 96-minute runtime, The Nun is surprisingly boring. Hardy keeps the pace very slow and doesn’t allow for anything interesting to develop. Not much really happens until the very end when we get a quick final showdown that ends in the campiest way possible.
Speaking of campiness, the film tries to interject the scares with a few slight one-liners. They make no sense in the context of the story and always fail miserably, invoking groans rather than laughter. One slight nod that can be given to Hardy is his average camerawork. Some of the overhead and pan shots are interesting to look at, but that’s about it.
Written by Gary Dauberman with help from James Wan, The Nun could already take the cake for the worst writing of the year. The overall premise of the film is decent, but any resemblance to a story after that is downright terrible. Important elements have very little background and anything that happens is given no reasoning whatsoever.
Each character is very dull. They have tragic generic backstories that try (and fail) to make us connect with them. They also make some of the dumbest decisions, such as splitting up multiple times and trying to fight a demon head-on. Similar to the directing, the writing fails to make the film scary in any way. Almost every “scare” is a jump scare that just startles you. After that, nothing really happens as the film cycles to the next jump scare. It’s very predictable and restricts any element of surprise.
Completing the trifecta of horribleness is the acting. Demián Bichir plays Father Burke. Just like his character, Bichir is very bland and lacks any trace of personality. All he does is have a concerned look on his face and barely makes any meaningful interaction with the other characters.
Taissa Farmiga, sister of franchise star Vera Farmiga, plays Sister Irene. Unfortunately, Taissa shares no quality acting traits with her superior sister. She constantly looks out of her element and isn’t able to be more than a one-note character.
Last, and certainly least, is Jonas Bloquet as Frenchie, a local farmer who acts as a guide to Burke and Irene. Frenchie is the arrogant tough guy in every horror film that you just want to punch. He’s the source of all the painful one-liners and is just flat-out terrible to watch.
The Nun is a boring and frightless mess that fails on all levels. By the time the credits roll, any audience member should feel insulted that they wasted both time and money on this pitiful excuse of a horror film.