When I first saw the preview for, “The Nun” my girlfriend and I literally jumped from our seats! This reaction was brought about by a scene wherein, a dark faced silhouette stood motionless behind a white-clothed nun holding a lantern. The white-clothed nun took a couple of steps forward. Then, she stopped to listen in the catacombs. The scene is so quiet, that one could hear a pin drop. She turned and stared at the dark figure. My girlfriend and I leaned in for anticipation. BOOM! Out of nowhere an evil nun pins our protagonist to the wall and the scene cuts to the logo, “The Nun.” Which is donned by an upside down cross to better market the subject material of the film. But, the fact that the preview gave my girlfriend and I a feeling of fright in such a short time, built up my desire to be scared once again. That is why as soon as the movie came out, I brought her to go see the film with me.
Now, I’ve seen “The Conjuring” which is arguably among the top horror movies of the last decade. That film had so much depth and it was genuinely frightening. I actually was about to go buy a necklace with a cross on it as a means to protect me from demonic spirits. I’d also seen another spin-off titled, “Annabelle Creation.” Meaning, I’ve seen some of the movies in “The Conjuring” universe, but my understanding is a bit disjointed and I earnestly don’t care because the lore of the films seems to be shallow at best. I feel that each film that I did see could stand on its own feet if it wanted to. That is something that I appreciated about “The Nun.” Only towards the end of the film did you realize that this story was part of a much bigger story.
Without spoiling much about the twists and turns of the plot, I’ll just provide an overview of how the story is built based on the main problem. The Inciting Incident that gets the ball rolling for the film is when a nun unleashes an evil that was hidden deep within the monastery. The evil pushes one nun to her brink, as she jumps out of window and is hung by a noose. While on his routine visit to the monastery, Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) discovers what is left of the deceased nun; having been devoured by crows. The news of a nun hanging herself, gets back to the Vatican and they appoint Father Burke (Demián Bichir Nájera) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate the tragedy. When Frenchie leads the group back to the monastery the events start to unfold. The group is told that they must stay the night and wait for the coven to return in the morning and pray. Once the night is in full-swing the jump scares and hallucinating visuals begin; adding to the eeriness to the film.
The characters are what you would expect in a horror film revolving around a church. Which isn’t a bad thing I might add. Frenchie, is the comic-relief, with one-liners and sexual innuendo jokes that are aimed towards Sister Irene and reflect his bachelor ways. Father Burke, is a priest with a chip on his shoulder; having failed an exorcism. Sister Irene, is the subtle surprise to the formula. Her backstory reflects that she had visions and that is why she hasn’t taken her vows and accepted being a nun. This nuance adds to her character’s complexity.
“The Nun” is both slightly predictable as well as entertaining. What you would expect in a exorcism film is there: holy water, a snake, and upside down crosses are all present. Therefore, “The Nun” doesn’t do anything game changing. The story ends and is regurgitated back to the story that inspired the spin-off. This I felt to be a lazy way of wrapping things up for the audience. All together, the film is just a fun departure from reality that put on a visual spectacle and made me subconsciously more scared of nuns.