- Release Date: 7/9/18
- Director: Corin Hardy
- Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Ingrid Bisu
The Nun was always an interesting prospect for me. I was hooked to know the origin of the terrifying demon from the Conjuring franchise that sent shivers down our spine, right from the day they hinted at making a film about her. Annabelle Creation, released last year was good and my interest for The Nun Quadrupled as I believed that the team that brought us films like Insidious, Conjuring and Annabelle Creation couldn’t go wrong. At least they would definitely scare the Jesus out of us. However, after sitting through this atmospheric and eerie film that for the most part is well acted, I can’t say that I am totally impressed or for that matter satisfied.
The Nun starts with an affecting sequence wherein we see a Nun commit suicide trying to keep Valak, the demon Nun contained in an extremely eerie Abbey in Romania. This sequence leaves you with a promise of the 101 scares to come in the next two hours or so. Father Burke, a man who holds a special designation with the Vatican for solving cases mostly dealing with possessions, haunting and death by the two mentioned causes is called in to investigate the suicide of the Nun at the Abbey. He is asked to take in Sister Irene as she is already familiar with the place. Sister Irene is yet to take her vows and has never been to Romania. Father Burke convinces Irene to come along even after she makes it abundantly clear that she may not be the resource that the Vatican think her to be. Once in Romania, the duo comes face to face with the secrets of the Nun and how she came to be.
Let me start off with the positives. The Nun is a well-acted film. Taissa Farmiga, who happens to be the real- life sister of Vera Farmiga (who plays Lorraine Warren in the Conjuring films) is highly believable as Sister Irene. The fact that she is so convincing, breathes life into some of the scenes that otherwise might have ended up flat. She is also able to grasp your attention and make you care for her character which in so many ways makes some of the sequences thrilling.
Demien Bichir who plays father Burke is equally good in a character that is rather one dimensional. He is forced into some situations that are designed just to extract some jump scares and is never referenced ever again. These sequences also have nothing to do with the plot or the proceedings. Even in these sequences, Bichir brings at least a semblance of integrity and seriousness which proves to be a saving grace for the said sequences.
Jonas Bloquet plays Frenchie, the man who discovers the dead nun and sets afoot the proceedings. His character was supposed to be a cameo but after getting some positive nods in the preview screenings his role was amped up. He does justice to his role and I would go the extent of saying that he is charming in many of the sequences. The fact that his character, in the end, ties this film to the Conjuring saga makes him important too.
The setting and the ambiance of The Nun really gets under your skin. It is a beautifully shot film. I have to give it that. The dependence on blue hues is extensive and certain sequences could have been better lit but sans these nitpicks, the film is consistently beautiful and is successful in keeping the atmosphere perfectly in sync with mood and feel of the story. The abbey in which most of the story unfolds is a character in itself and at many junctures, scarier than the Nun. I loved the aerial shots, the walks through the lanes, corridors, and innards of the place.
Having said all that, the biggest issue with this film is that it’s not scary enough. The best scares of the film are all there in the trailer and this would not be the first time that a film has been spoiled by its own trailer. I wasn’t startled or genuinely scared even once throughout the screening of the film. As I watched this film, I couldn’t help but fall back on the Conjuring films that I watched partially through a crack between my fingers. Even Annabelle Creation was scarier than this one.
The Problem here is not just the lack of scares but also the lack of novelty. They have at least a 100 different scares all through the film but not a single one of it is innovative or something that we haven’t seen before. Hence as they are building up the scares, we as the audience can practically put our finger on the portion of the screen from where the scare will come. This factor literally brings down the whole film.
If one looks closely at the story, it is bound to feel generic, shallow and lazily done. For a character like Valak, they could have done n-different things but they resort to some book reading to explain her beginning when a better film would have taken us to that place instead of reading it out. The big reveal, which I will not spoil here, is also mildly shocking at best. For a film like this, I expect nothing less than a terrific climax. They add a bit in the end which ties this film to the Conjuring films and that was a neat piece but other than that there is hardly anything to cheer about.
Plagued by a lack of novelty in the scares department, an insipid story and average direction, The Nun turns out to be one of the year’s biggest disappointments for me. I was really expecting a lot from this film and hence it feels even more bad to be let down by it. Taissa Farmiga might just be the best thing about this film and that frankly isn’t saying much.
Rating: 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)