The Nun Movie Review - Ghoulish, but not scary enough
Gary Dauberman's screenplay doesn't have room for either imagination or invention. Corin Hardy's directorial skills lack consistency while the narrative feels largely uneven and unfulfilling
U/A: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Corin Hardy
Cast: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons
The spooky doll Annabelle stirred up quite a steady stream of malevolence in the Conjuring universe, so Warner Bros decided to give it a rest and work up another spin-off story- that of the demonic Nun(Bonnie Aarons), who becomes the unholy secret of a cloistered Abbey in Romania. When a young nun at the abbey takes her own life, a priest, Father Burke(Demián Bichir) - with a haunted past and a novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), on the threshold of her final vows, are sent by the Vatican to investigate.
Set in 1950s Romania, the film boasts of imposingly dark, decades-old castle and a steady ominously cavernous look soaked up by a heavy foggy blanket, further embellished by Maxine Alexandre's doomy camerawork. Location aesthetics and production design are bang on. The Abbey looks suitably dilapidated and stands far away from the farming community - enough to conjure up local legends of the creepy kind. Even so, it doesn't feel like Wan's Horror universe.
Watch the trailer here:
There's no great attempt to build suspense or tension. Valak's fang-toothed, pale-faced look is hideous but the ability to scare appears to have waned considerably. Corin Hardy's unholy monster crush is far more generic with staple tropes and obvious jump scares. He opens the film with a flock of crows flying towards the camera, has a sinister, eerie looking hand suddenly appearing in a darkened doorway, one of the characters, Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) gets mounted by a nun apparition, medieval knights of God prevent a Blood Demon from forming and Valak is forever voicing his/her intent.
Gary Dauberman's screenplay doesn't have room for either imagination or invention. The three main characters have a reasonably decent arc but the erratic plotting and treatment hammers it all in. The demonic possession has some flaky zombie lore attached to it - making it more of a reason to laugh than to be petrified. Corin Hardy's directorial skills lack consistency while the narrative feels largely uneven and unfulfilling.
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