The Nun is the latest in the Conjuring cinematic universe, which have for the most part established themselves as a pretty solid horror franchise.
The movies in the conjurverse(?) are usually well crafted, competently shot and dish up the scares. Lets have a look at whether The Nun continues this habit.
Nun of these movies is The Nun.
The core cast centers around Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”) as Father Burke, at times his performance came off a little hokey but he did bring character to his performance.
Taissa Farmiga ( “American Horror Story” as I found out later after spending most of the movie trying to remember what I had seen her in ) as Sister Irene, her character starts out strong with a bit of pluck but it would have been nice if her rebellious streak shone through a bit more.
Jonas Bloquet (“Elle”) as local villager Frenchie looks like hes fallen off a catalog photo-shoot but despite him looking like an obvious hero he brings a lot of the tension breaking humor. (He’s French-Canadian thank-you very much.)
The Nun takes place in the 1950’s serves as further backstory for that creepy bit in the Conjuring 2 when the painting comes off the wall and menaces one of the investigators. Yep this is the Conjuring equivalent of the Oprah giveaway.
It’s a setting that should be instantly recognizable, an ancient castle, an ancient evil trying to get free. The Nun isn’t exactly pushing the envelope, but the well worn setting doesn’t detract from it either.
Father Burke is dispatched by the Vatican to investigate the apparent suicide of a nun in an ancient Romanian abbey. He enlists the help of novice or is it acolyte, eh trainee nun Sister Irene to accompany him for reasons that weren’t really apparent.
Once at the abbey they meet Frenchie (he’s actually French-Canadian) and together they scooby doo their way through the spooky castle and weird goings on.
There is nothing clever about jump scares, just as fart jokes might get a laugh the first time, by the 12th time you are probably not getting invited to parties anymore. Jump scares are the cinematic equivalent of a fart joke.
The Nun lets rip at full force and with stunning frequency.
It really is horror lite, sure it might get a jump here and there, but it doesn’t stick with you for days or sometimes weeks afterwards like a good horror movie can.
There are moments where the goings on led to collective groans of “oh seriously?” So don’t expect a horror masterpiece (like Hereditary, check out our review)
The Good Stuff
The Nun was fun. There’s your quote.
It was a good time with an audience that got the joke the movie was telling. It didn’t take it’s self seriously at times and plays it nowhere near as straight as the other Conjuring movies. This actually works for it really well, there were parts the audience had a collective chuckle as the priest literally falls into a coffin full of exposition.
The cinematography is great and the locations used set the tone so well visually. The sets and locations never look overly CGI or cheap.
It also stands on it’s own without having had to have seen any of the other Conjuring movies.
The Nun is probably what you would expect if you have seen the other movies, but delivers a bit of a nod and a wink to the audience and is aware of it’s own outlandishness. It took me back to the old Hammer Horror movies that had a bit of camp and cheese and were often set in some decrepit eastern European castle. Is it weird to get a feeling of comfortable familiarity from a horror movie?
You’ll like it if you enjoy:
Hammer Horror nostalgia.
The other Conjurverse movies.
A bit of cheese in your horror
Skip it if you:
Dislike jump scares.
Want moans from the movie instead of from the audience.
Expect to be terrified.
In cinemas now: Wide release