Movie #222 2020: The Nun (2018)

Back we go to the depths of the pits of the Conjuring universe. Sorry for that long winded sentence, but that’s how far down the rabbit hole I seem to have fallen.

The Nun is a standalone movie within the universe that is loosely linked to the character of ‘The Nun’ from The Conjuring 2, which will come as no shock. Taissa Farmiga (yes, Vera‘s little sister) plays the lead role of a young nun who has not yet said her vows. She’s chosen by elite members of the Vatican to visit an abbey in Romania to investigate a suicide, but of course things aren’t as simple as ‘the nun who committed suicide was just depressed’. The deceased nun was actually being haunted by a higher power – the nun that Lorraine Warren was having visions of in the Conjuring sequel. It is now up to her, along with a local farm hand and her priest escort, to banish the evil from what should be a holy place.

We all know that nuns are a perfect subject for a horror film because they’re creepy as shit (no offence, sisters), but the background story they’ve chosen here is really tame and tedious. It sounds so dark and terrifying with its themes of religion and suicide and exorcism, but it doesn’t live up to expectations. The start of the movie drags on for way too long, and its back story ends up being quite weak in comparison to the other movies in this franchise.

Average plot aside, there were some notable positives here. I think I’ve praised the costume department as much as I possibly can at this point, but they were great once again. What’s more is, a couple of the jump scares in this one made my little heart skip a beat, but the actual content of the movie wasn’t all that frightening. The possessed nun spirit itself can be quite frightening, but the scares are way too far and in between. Basically what I’m saying is a lot of this movie is really fucking boring.

Some of the cinematography is unexpectedly good here however; there’s an interesting use of mirrors and the contrast between foreground and background was really nice to see. Despite some decent visuals, it just feels like so little happens in this film. There’s just not a comprehensive enough story behind it to hold it up, whereas the Conjuring movies were based on the real life that is such a compelling tale. If they had injected more of these real life aspects, there might have been a semi-decent movie afterwards.

I have to say, the 3 main characters were at least likeable. Taissa Farmiga does well with what she has… but she’s no Vera. Thankfully though, the writers tie this to the rest of the universe at the end. If they hadn’t, I would have had major question marks. However, the links they make are quite loose and feeble, and the one question-answering scene at the end of the movie didn’t quite cut the mustard.

How did I feel about this movie? Well, I’ll leave you with this quote from the TV adaptation of the wonderful What We Do in the Shadows, which summarises my thoughts perfectly:

The Nun is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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