DIR: Corin Hardy • WRI: Gary Dauberman • DOP: Maxime Alexandre • ED: Michel Aller,Ken Blackwell • MUS: Abel Korzeniowski • DES: Jennifer Spence • PRO: Peter Safran, James Wan • CAST: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet
Considering The Nun’s director, Corin Hardy, was last in the director’s chair for the taut and entertaining (if somewhat formulaic) Irish eco-horror The Hallow, it’s a pity to see how out-of-touch he is with Irish affairs. Unless this tepid tale of Vatican power ends up doing well at the box office. In which case, I just don’t know what to think.
Comprised mainly of uninspired jump scares and things that initially appear to be jump scares but aren’t (and then there’s a jump scare anyway), there is nothing to recommend in this latest instalment of the Conjuring franchise. Other than perhaps trying to figure out whether the film’s protagonist, Sister Irene, played by Taissa Farmiga (Final Girls), is in any way related to franchise regular, demonologist Lorraine Warren, played by her own real-life sister, Vera Farmiga.
An origin story for that same franchise, The Nun sends us back to the 1950s, following Sister Irene and Father Burke (Demián Bichir), a member of some sort of Vatican priest detective force, who have been dispatched to the Romanian countryside in order to investigate the case of a nun’s suicide in a remote monastery. They are joined by the travelling Frenchman (Jonas Bloquet), who made the gruesome discovery. The nuns prove to be strangely elusive but eventually the intrepid investigators uncover the order’s secret, which involves demons and portals and possession.
The Nun is more concerned with delivering run-of-the-mill shocks than any attempt at storytelling, as the film’s supposed mystery is solved within the opening minutes, leaving the audience watching the clock as they wait for the characters to catch up with them. Character development is undercooked and uninspired, with even the most rudimentary storylines fizzling out when their usefulness to the plot has run their course. The evil ghost demon nuns are also all super-strong Jason Vorhees-types, which isn’t exactly a problem, so much as the film only occasionally comes across as a ghost story.
The Nun certainly seems like the kind of movie that should offer its audience some laughs, if nothing else. Unfortunately, it’s all so routine and repetitive that it soon loses even that appeal. Or, to put it another way: with regards to fun, there’s NUN to be found here.