Horror is baaaaack!
And with a vengeance.
The Nun is not for people that don’t like horror movies or burnt out on them. Don't expect character development either. Don't expect to be shock like you were when you watched The Exorcist. I’ve read several critic reviews were they just don’t get it. They use words to describe it like “using every trick in the horror trope” or “predictable”, “throwing the kitchen sink at”, or “not enough character development”. Well forget what you heard because there is more bite to this movie than you’d expect.
Okay, so we begin with a spooky opening sequence where two nuns are fighting to save humanity from a malevolent presence that is about to enter our world. One is dragged into a room and the other commits suicide by hanging. Suicide is a sin, right? Makes you wonder what type of evil is powerful enough to destroy Catholic nuns?
Being the beginning of The Conjuring movie universe, this story begins like this, Father Burke (Demién Bichir) is summoned by the Vatican to investigate the suicide of a nun at The Abbey, a castle located somewhere in Romania. Apparently Father Burke has a trauma and a shameful past after having failed to save a teen from an exorcism he performed. Makes you wonder why The Vatican would send a priest like Father Burke on such a dangerous mission. The Vatican doesn’t send Father Burke alone on this task though. They assign Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), who hasn’t yet taken her vows. A nun that hasn't taken her vows yet, and not your typical nun either. She's contrary to the average nun. She seems so innocent.
Father Burke and Sister Irene are taken to The Abbey by a local delivery man, Frechie (Jonas Bloquet). (You may remember Frenchie as the first exorcism performed by The Warrens from the original The Conjuring. Lorraine Warren has the painting of The Nun at their home and references it in the film.) Sister Irene was chosen to go on this assignment because she experiences visions, these visions provide the information needed to uncover what actually occurred at The Abbey.
The Abbey has been the site of a malevolent force locked away for centuries. The Church took over The Abbey and placed a congregation of nuns to pray 12 hours a day to keep the evil force in control. However, after WW2 bombing weaken the structure of The Abbey, the evil locked inside of it found another way to escape, and using the guise of a nun, slowly grows in strength causing terror on those around it.
Yes, The Nun is a supernatural survival horror installment of The Conjuring universe. You don’t have to be a die hard fan of the horror genre in order to be scared. Yes, there is a lot of the same tropes from the most popular supernatural horror movies and that is because this is how demonic infestation happens.
Director Corin Hardy and screenplay writer Gary Dauberman do wonderfully.
What this film gives us is tricky camera and visual effects that showcase how the demon works. We find out that the demon’s name is Valak–an ancient demon from Hell that was summoned by the count performed sacrificial rituals.
If you are expecting character development then you’re not going to find it here. This story doesn’t need a lot of characters at all. You don’t need a lot of information about these characters because Valak is the only character this story is about.. One minute he’s behind the character’s back, the next his shadow appears on the wall, he reanimates dead corpses and even manifesting animals and the usual superhuman strength as well as taking on human form. He ghosts the characters as well. It’s always interesting to see how the director and screenwriter pull off these visual effects.
Father Burke character plays like a detective searching the castle for any information he can use to exorcise the demonic spirit from the world while Sister Irene uses her visions to lead her to the truth about what occurred at The Abbey as well as discover anything that she can use to send the evil spirit back to Hell. If you like Ash from the Evil Dead horror series, then you’ll like Frenchie because he is the outsider in all of this providing necessary dark humor. Frenchie isn’t afraid to use a shotgun to blow off the heads of a couple of deadites disguised as nuns.
What also makes this film enjoyable to watch with a group, is the pacing. There are enough slow moments for you to make jokes about the characters or the visual bombarding your senses.
I give this film an enthusiastic 7/10 for its creepy mood and intense disturbing images. And those squeamish people, no worries. There isn't a lot of gore.
Definitely a great popcorn horror flick to watch in the dark with your friends. Definitely worth the movie ticket. You won't be disappointed as long as you keep what I've said in this review in mind.
If I were to rate its place among the other films in The Conjuring universe, I would rate as follows
1) The Conjuring
2) The Conjuring 2
3) The Nun
* 4) Annabelle Creation