All the promotional material that has been released regarding Corin Hardy’s The Nun has called this entry in the now long-running Conjuring film series the “darkest chapter yet”. After seeing the film, I am genuinely baffled as to how The Nun – the film with the most cheap and boring scares and most humor involved is the darkest chapter.
In Romania in 1952, a nun is attacked by a demonic nun, and eventually commits suicide in a last effort to escape its clutches. Now, upon discovering the woman’s body, a man named Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) alerts other nun Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) and priest Father Burke (Demián Bichir) about the death of the nun. The three of them then proceed to investigate the abbey that the deceased nun was in, which just so happens to be where a demonic nun named Valak (Bonnie Aarons) is waiting for them.
I was honestly really excited to see The Nun as when I saw The Conjuring 2 for the first time back in 2016, I always found the scenes that involved Aarons’ Valak were the strongest of the entire film. After seeing The Nun however, I ended up being extremely disappointed with virtually everything.
The other films in the Conjuring universe have done a fairly great job up until this point at making their scares actually scary and not relying on jump scares in an attempt to scare the audience. All that does for me when I see a jump scare in a horror film is just think about how the scene could have been scarier had they done it in a different way instead of a jump scare. I am not even kidding when I say that every single “scare” that happens during the course of this picture is a jump scare. Literally every single one. Jump scares are nothing more than a scary looking face popping out at the screen and is often accompanied by a loud sound. That to me is not at all scary.
Ever since I was a kid, I have always been a humongous fan of Taissa Farmiga. I have loved her work in the multiple seasons of American Horror Story that she has been in, so I was really curious to see what she could bring to the table with The Nun as her sister Vera has portrayed Lorraine Warren in the Conjuring universe ever since the original 2013 Conjuring film. Gratefully, Taissa does an excellent job in this film, and is easily the best actor in the film. There are multiple scenes in which she has to sell emotion with no words, but by only using her face, which can often be a difficult task for some actors – but the same cannot be said about her. She pulls it off effortlessly. The rest of the acting is exceptionally good as well, including the performance by Demián Bichir as Father Burke.
Easily to me one of the worst aspects of The Nun is the fact that the filmmakers desperately attempt to incorporate humor into this entry. I legitimately have no idea as to why they would want to make a film like The Nun – a film in which we see suicides – a funny film. It is absolutely ridiculous. This is why the film’s marketing is so confusing to me. All the posters call it the “darkest chapter yet” even though its the only film thus far in the franchise that makes an actual attempt to be funny.
A lot of the characters make absurdly idiotic decisions throughout the entire film as well. If you have seen plenty of horror films in your life up to this point, you probably know about a lot of cliché moments that can occur. Think of just one of them, it doesn’t matter which cliché comes to mind. The Nun more than likely has that cliché that you just thought of. By far one of the biggest horror clichés of all time is a character seeing something move around in a hallway or the character hears a noise. Of course, the character then proceeds to make the brainless decision to literally go investigate. Or, even worse, call out “hello?” which no joke, happens more than once in the film.
Furthermore, The Nun does not really even have a plot for the audience to follow if you can believe it. The whole entire “plot” of the film is that a nun took her life because she thought she saw a demonic nun chasing her, and now we have three people going to investigate the same abbey that she took her life in. That is literally the whole plot of The Nun.
Easily one of the most disappointing things about The Nun is the fact that the titular character barely makes that many appearances, believe it or not. She is really only in the film a couple of times, and that’s it. For someone like me, who really loved the character of Valak from The Conjuring 2, her lack of presence in The Nun is an extreme disappointment.
The film does look really great, however. Everything looks gloomy and run-down and that was easily one of the best elements. The Nun was shot by Maxime Alexandre, who also shot the previous installment in the Conjuring universe – 2017’s Annabelle: Creation (which was a considerably better film than The Nun). He does do a really good job with the camera work, and that was one of the few pleasant surprises that the film had in store.
Another good element of the film is the musical score composed by Abel Korzeniowski. The score that he composed was remarkably eerie and unsettling and helped to make a few scenes better. The only disappointing thing however, is the fact that the film uses the same songs from his score over and over again. After a while, it honestly became a bit hilarious just how many times the film kept on reusing the same sounds from his score that it actually at times became predictable as to where and when they would use the same sounds.
Additionally, the ending of this film had me genuinely terrified for a few seconds – but not in the way you may think. They honestly were about to do a romantic scene, which, if they had done that, it would have made the film even worse than it already is. But, thankfully, even the filmmakers must have agreed that it would have been a bit too ridiculous, even for “the darkest chapter” that just so happens to tell jokes more times than you would expect.
The Nun is a vastly disappointing film filled with cheap jump scares, a weak story, terrible humor, and characters who make horrible decisions.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for terror, violence, and disturbing/bloody images
Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons
Directed by: Corin Hardy
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 96 minutes