The Nun is the fifth film in the Conjuring universe, a universe that has had its highs and lows. With Annabelle being an extreme disappointment, Creation being a surprisingly good sequel and both Conjuring movies delivering some well-deserved scares. I was hoping this movie wasn’t going to stoop to Annabelle’s level of trash, I was wrong. Although only slightly better than the universes first spin-off, The Nun is still an extremely big disappointment with very little to show.
A priest (Demian Bichir) with a haunted past and a novice (Taissa Farmiga) on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
James Wan is fastly becoming one of this generations greatest horror directors and I can see why. He has given us the Insidious franchise, began Saw, The Conjuring, and soon deliver us the Aquaman movie. He has a knack for atmospheric horrors, although he didn’t direct The Nun he did co-write and produced it. I mention him in this review because I am disappointed with how poorly written The Nun actually is. Delivering on only one well-crafted jump scare, which sadly is spoiled in the trailer. A narrative that consists of so many ridiculous choices with the logic of the characters.
The film isn’t all bad as it boasters really impressive performances by all the main leads, especially young actress Taissa Farmiga who gives a performance to rival her older sister Vera Farmiga in the first two Conjuring movies. Demian Bachir is also really good as Father Burke, the priest brought in to help. However, his character is really bad at his job and rarely does enough to help. I found myself thinking back to The Exorcist and how helpful Damien Karras was. Although the cast all give great performances, sadly, only Sister Irene is somewhat of a well-written character. Shes cliche when it comes to horror heroines but her performance at least elevates it from the movie becoming boring.
The narrative is what brings the characters down the most, it’s so poorly and thinly written for the audience to form any sort of connection with them. It never really goes beyond what we already learned from The Conjuring movies, because of this it slowly starts to drift into generic horror territory. Corin Hardy was originally set to direct the remake of The Crow. Since then the project has been cancelled but you can see Hardy would have been a perfect choice for director. For as many things The Nun does wrong, Hardy is able to give us a gloomy, gothic aesthetic.
Overall, The Nun isn’t as well crafted as The Conjuring 1 and 2 or Annabelle: Creation. But it is much more enjoyable than Annabelle, not to mention The Nun has a great stylisation behind it where Annabelle lacked in so many places. Apart from a good opening scene, the movie had nothing to offer. I can’t say Hardy behind the camera was a bad choice, he has made a bad movie but one that also has a great aesthetic and a perfect gothic atmosphere. The connections to the Conjuring universe are very forced, how they choose to show the connections are very poor and it treats the fans like complete idiots. A poor entry in a poorly crafted universe.
Director: Corin Hardy
Runtime: 96 Minutes