James Wan made two of the best horror movies in recent memory with The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. He brought the true scary stories to pure life and not only scaring audiences but having them discussing the movies following Ed and Lorraine Warren investigating paranormal activity–from Rhode Island to London. It focused on the atmosphere and the risks these two characters make as opposed to cheap thrills. That’s the case with 2014’s Annabelle, a ventriloquist doll so creepy in the first film took a turn for the worse.
The Conjuring universe has decided to give another creepy entity its own spin-off. Unfortunately, The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy, is another disappointment.
The year is 1952. In a Romanian abbey, two Catholic nuns are attacked by an entity in the form of a nun (Bonnie Aarons). Sister Victoria (Charlotte Hope) ends up committing suicide by hanging herself. Meanwhile, the Vatican hears about the incident and sends Father Burke (Demian Birchir), an expert in exorcism, and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, the sister of Vera) to investigate. With the help of a French-Canadian farmer (Jonas Bloquet), they arrive at the abbey unprepared for what’s in store.
This is the only film in the universe that feels brief and unfinished. It’s filled with cheap scares and forced humor. While the acting is tolerable at best, their motivations aren’t given enough depth. With a semi-promising start, it’s bogged down by a shaky third act. Maxime Alexandre’s cinematography, while gorgeous, doesn’t quite give the movie enough atmosphere.
The Nun does have its moments. One of the only genuinely creepy scenes in the movie is where Father Burke is buried alive in a coffin after witnessing the strong entity. Farmiga gives an impressive performance as a rookie who has yet to receive her vows (shouldn’t she received them before going on that trip?) Her supernatural visions are the main reason she goes to the Romanian mountains. Other than that, I suggest waiting for The Conjuring 3.