The Nun Review: Middling Horror
The latest film in the wildly successful Conjuring cinematic universe, The Nun, is another prequel. This time to the The Conjuring 2 (2016), depicting the origins of The Nun legend that was introduced in that film, TheNun, unfortunately, lacks the real scare factor of either of the first two Conjuring films, or even the Annabelle: Creations (2017) movie. It’s a very mediocre entry in this “Conjuring: Cinematic Universe” and one that is, overall, best ignored. If you like your films to have loads of “jump scares”, and “convoluted storylines”, then this film is for you. Personally, I only found a limited number of things to admire about it.
The Nun plays out like a Christian mystery with horror elements to it. Think of it like an episode of Father Dowling Mysteries (1989-1991). The film is focused around the church with constant references to Christ. Father Burke (Demian Bichir) is a priest who questions his own religious beliefs while helping a nun in training, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga). Meanwhile, they are sent to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and wind up having to confront a malicious force. In theory, the mystery aspect is intriguing, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
The performances are fine, but they’re not the best I’ve seen from these actors. Demian Bichir, in particular, seems to just be trying to keep his cool while his character has to fight for his life against The Nun spirit. Taissa Farmiga is fine as Sister Irene, but she seems to have been cast only because she’s Vera Farmiga’s sister, (Vera starred in the first two Conjuring films as Lorraine). In fact, some might think she’s a younger version of Lorraine, although that is not the case.
There are aspects about The Nun I do appreciate. The cinematography is surprisingly strong with a blue tinge at points in some pivotal scenes. Abel Korzeniowski’s musical score is effective, sounding like sound-effects (modern horror scoring in a nutshell, essentially), and the movie has a moody feel at points. However, there are too many scenes of characters doing stupid things. The special effects also range from decent to mediocre, however, the more The Nun spirit was on the screen, the more ridiculous she looked. I also started to question The Nun’s motivation, as the movie never made it all that clear tome.
The Nun is a standard horror film. Being part of The Conjuring universe gives it some popularity, but aside from that, it’s not particularly creative and lacks the cleverness of the previous films in the franchise. While it’s not as bad as the first Annabelle (2014) film, I can’t really recommend it that much.
Now playing in Hanover at the Nugget Theater, Monday - Thursday at 4:30 and 7:00 PM.