We got our first glimpse of the demonic nun Valak, in The Conjuring 2. She plagued Lorraine Warren’s visions and filled her with dread. Now she gets her own outing in The Nun. The epic battle of good vs. evil pits a priest with a dark history and a sister who has yet to take her vows against the blasphemy that is Valak.Having seen it, I can honestly say I bought none of it … or should that be nun of it?
The year is 1952. A young nun at an abbey in Transylvania commits the ultimate sin: taking her own life. The church must now determine if the ground is still holy, or if evil has compromised the Abbey of St. Carta. To address the dire situation, the Vatican enlists the expertise of Father Burke (Demian Bichir), a clergyman from Philadelphia. He’s one of only a few skilled in testing the validity of miracles and darker phenomenon.
Joining Father Burke on the quest is Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga – younger sister of Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga), a novitiate at St. Vincent’s Hospital in England. Taking them to the scene of the suicide is Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a local villager who is actually French Canadian.
Gary Dauberman (IT) wrote the script, while Corin Hardy (The Hallow) directs. The result is filled with cliches. The film is dull and clunky … and until more than half way through it certainly wasn’t scary. Hardy uses – then overuses – the usual tropes of the genre – crosses, fire, snakes, even water. The script is a shocker and the desire to inject humour was misplaced.
I wasn’t sold on any of the three key actors. They all seemed to be simply going through the motions. In fact, I think the performers didn’t have any belief in what they were doing or saying … it was that bad. At one point, one the actors sprouts the line “holy shit!”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
For a while in The Nun, the idea of a story seems to have been totally abandoned, so the filmmakers can orchestrate artificial frights. I’m talking about people getting thrown around, strangled, drowned and scared to death – that kind of thing. None of it worked the way a good horror can.