This time, the story is set in Romania in 1952. Specifically, in a convent where a young nun takes her own life; as a consequence, the Vatican sends a priest (Father Burke – Demian Bichir) and a novitiate (Sister Irene – Taissa Farmiga) there to investigate. When they get to Romania, where according to the movie everybody speaks perfect American English with just the tiniest foreign accent, they find out an unholy spirit is terrorising the convent.
Now, I really can’t review The Nun without talking about The Conjuring universe: ever since Marvel nailed the attempt to create a cinematic universe, many other companies tried to do the same. The DCU and the Universal Dark Universe, among the others, failed because they didn’t find a formula that allowed them to make financially successful flicks. Marvel, on the other hand, does pretty much the same with every film and, although it sacrifices artistic integrity and original flair by doing so, it also makes an insane number of films that are enjoyable and profitable.
The Conjuring universe copied Marvel’s model: now we have five flicks belonging to this universe (The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun) and a few more that will come out within the next two years (The Conjuring 3, Annabelle 3 and The Crooked Man). Due to the fact that James Wan, director of the first Conjuring, is a great filmmaker and knows markets very well, Warner Brothers have been able to cash in on a series of flicks that present the same characteristics, plots and storylines.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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To get it out of the way, I respect the existence of this cinematic universe and I understand why people like it and why masses shoehorn in theatres to watch their movies. Therefore, my review of The Nun will be kind of useless: if you liked the previous entrances in this series, you’ll most likely watch this one regardless of what I say. Please, though, remember horror is much more than cookie-cutter, mainstream flicks about demons, exorcisms and possessed dolls.
With all that said, in my opinion The Nun is one of the weakest instalments in this franchise, second only to that sin against humanity called Annabelle (the first one).
Here we have all the ingredients for an average possession flick: jump-scares (a lot of them), dark hallways, supposedly creepy basements, the legend of a scary demon. That’s not bad per se, since other flicks pulled off similar concepts. However, The Nun fails since it doesn’t build any character throughout the whole movie and doesn’t manage to make any of the scares unpredictable and thus frightening.
In terms of characters, every time the main protagonists interact is just to spell out to the audience every little detail they need to know. Besides not learning anything about their personality, we also have everything spoon-fed for us, which makes the mystery aspect of the movie utterly pointless and ineffective.
In regards to ‘scary scenes’, I already explained in previous posts what makes for a good scare: when you are anticipating a jump-scare, it won’t be effective, because you see it coming. It’s obvious. Other than a couple of good ones, The Nun relies on the most conventional and basic jump-scares ever.
Speaking of conventional and boring traits this flick is riddled with, the score is embarrassingly unimaginative and dull. Also, throughout the whole runtime, there’s this guy called Frenchie who’s there just to be the comic relief but, since the dialogue is so corny and lazy, every one of his lines causes a face-palm reaction.
However, The Nun isn’t a complete disaster. Besides the fact that fans of the franchise will most likely find some enjoyment in it – so, again, don’t let my review stop you from watching it – the visuals and the locations are quite effective. Yet, the camera-work is probably the best and most original in the whole cinematic universe, since there are a few inventive and competently executed shots. Towards the ending, there’s also a big ‘confrontation’ scene that is rather powerful and a bit scary. Ultimately, the titular nun (although barely in the movie) is well played by Bonnie Aarons and would have made for a great demon-villain, given a better script.
Overall, even for the low standards of this franchise, The Nun was a bit of a let-down, but it’s not a terrible movie per se nor the worst in this Conjuring universe.
The Nun 4.5/10