The special effects are basic, the central character of the story, the nun, is not terrifying and sometimes gives the impression that her face is a mix between the villain The Penguin and the singer Marilyn Manson. The NUN is the third in a line of spin-offs prompted by the success of James Wan's throwback horror flick, The Conjuring, which itself spawned a sequel in In between and since those films we have also received the likes of Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation neither of which I've had the privilege of viewing, but from what I hear I'm really not missing out.
Of course, I didn't see Insidious: The Last Key either, so it seems there is something about these spin-offs of Wan initiated franchises that tend to either push me away or leave me feeling so uninterested I could care less whether I consume them or not which is saying a lot for a guy who feels the needs to see and assess as many new releases as he can each year. While both Conjuring films had their merits and were, at the very least, well-constructed, the spin-offs featuring that demon-laden doll have had a go of one being bashed as outright terrible and the other being hailed as an effective genre exercise.
Unfortunately, if the consensus is true, then The NUN as written by Conjuring-verse veteran Gary Dauberman who, funnily enough, had nothing to do with either of The Conjuring films, but was one of the credited screenwriters on last year's IT, so I'll give him that falls into the former category joining 's Annabelle as more an opportunity for revenue than a true creative endeavor. Dauberman wrote both Annabelle and last year's Annabelle: Creation though and so maybe, as much as we like to believe story is the most important thing, when it comes to the horror genre it is more about the way in which these ghost stories are constructed and conveyed that matters just a little bit more.
Annabelle was directed by first time feature director and former cinematographer John R. Sandberg who was recognized for a short film he made then adapted into a feature. This is all to say that Sandberg likely has an inherent eye and skill for directing whereas Leonetti may have seen countless director's work over the years, but might not be able on his own to build a cohesive product having to manage several departments at once.
This brings us to Corin Hardy who shares more in common with Sandberg in terms of experience and perspective, but whose film shares more in common with what Leonetti apparently crafted. Meaning, The NUN is a fine example of throwing shit against a wall for an hour and a half to see what sticks and then moving on leaving a mess in the wake of whoever has to come behind it and clean-up. I feel bad for whoever makes The NUN: It's amazing to me that The Conjuring series has become a literal billion-dollar franchise and in only four cost-effective movies.
Rare is the film franchise that births spin-offs so readily, but The Conjuring has already introduced two Annabelle movies, one Nun film, and an upcoming Crooked Man feature. It's almost as if any supernatural creature given a minor spotlight in the James Wan-produced series is destined for greater things.
It's like the Conjuring universe is a pipeline to stardom for America's next big malevolent demon. I'm thinking the Conjuring 3 could spend 30 seconds on some tall tale about a haunted plunger and it would be spun off into its own franchise within a year, tops. The Nun is the fifth film in the series, the second spin-off film, and probably the movie with the least amount of narrative substance given its starting material. It's a mixture of old horror staples and exorcism mumbo-jumbo, and it's also not half bad.
In s Romania, a small abbey is being haunted by an evil presence that had been confined behind a door that ominously warned, "God ends here.
Father Burke Demian Bichir is called by the Vatican to investigate the strange happenings. He teams up with a local nun-in-training, Sister Irene Taissa Farmiga , and a traveling merchant Frenchie Jonas Bloquet who first discovered the dead nun's body. The sisters inside the abbey are behaving oddly and it's not long before our characters realize they're trapped in the abbey with something wicked looking for a human host to escape.
There's not really much to the plot of The Nun so the emphasis comes in the realm of atmosphere, unsettling visuals, and unnerving set pieces. The investigative process with our priest and nun-in-training doesn't amount to many revelations, and the information won't be new for the audience considering this specific demon Valak has been seen in two other Conjuring-related movies now maybe three?
It becomes a haunted house thriller and, like the earlier and much ballyhooed Hereditary, a movie of moments.
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So your mileage will vary depending upon how affected you are by the atmospherics and imagery. With The Nun, I felt like the visuals were built upon more rigorous Catholic religious iconography and a foundation of decades of accumulated exorcism film imagery.
Plus the very design of the titular nun is just super unsettling by itself, let alone placed in a spooky setting with spooky lighting. Director Corin Hardy The Hallow finds visually pleasing and distressing imagery that he emphasizes for better effect, like a team of faceless nuns standing in formation, or a tormented boy with a snake that slithers out of his screaming mouth.
It's not subtle in the slightest but credit for not relying upon an inordinate number of jump scares for its chief spooks. In the realm of schlocky horror, The Nun is actually a little restrained when it isn't being ridiculous, but it's the kind of ridiculous that makes you laugh and anticipate the next scene rather than check your watch.
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Again, your mileage will vary, but I enjoyed the theatrics and imagery more than the overrated Hereditary. This brings me to the biggest head-scratcher in the movie that would have seemed designed to ensure audience investment. As soon as I saw her face I leaned forward, newly intrigued. Suddenly this made her character that much more interesting and created a direct connection from the events of the nuns to the larger Conjuring universe, providing a back-story for the Warrens to lean upon.
It also allowed me to transfer my feelings for the character onto Taissa Farmiga, making me care far more about her well-being as she creeped around dimly lit corners than if she had been any other woman in a habit in a bad place. The fact that The Nun had so effectively hidden Taissa Farmiga's presence from the marketing made it feel like an intentional surprise, something to let the audience know the filmmakers weren't skating by. It raised my opinion of the movie and my enjoyment from scene-to-scene. Of all the young actresses in the world to select, choosing the literal younger sister of Vera Farmiga, who looks strikingly similar, feels far too intentional to be coincidental.
Why isn't she just the younger version of Lorraine Warren, setting her up for a life of hunting the supernatural after this formative experience? She's even presented as a nun in training and not a full-fledged bride of Christ. Even the decades in age difference would add up.
It's not like you're playing that close to the facts of the case when it concerns the Warrens who, by modern accounts, are considered frauds by many. Come on, James Wan. Come on Conjuring universe. What are you doing here? The solution was right within reach and you deliberately ignored it.
The Nun is a moderately entertaining movie subsisting on strong production design, exorcism iconography, and solid performances from capable actors. It's not really more than the sum of its parts but, for me, there were enough effectively creepy moments and punchy images that won me over by the end of its 96 minutes. Was this a late-in-the-game rewrite to absolve her of her connection to Vera Farmiga? I'm happy for anyone connected to the production to contact me and clear this up after my surprising conversation with a key creative on Sherlock Gnomes, I'll just start openly asking for clarifying correspondence from Hollywood filmmakers now.
The Nun in essence does just enough to be silly or scary when needed and possibly worth a watch for horror fans. Now about that haunted toilet plunger. I may have a pitch ready if you're open to it, James Wan. Frenchie is attacked by a demon as he returns to the village, but escapes. Burke tells Irene that a boy he exorcised, Daniel, was fatally injured during the exorcism , and Burke has carried the burden of the boy's death with him ever since.
Irene reveals that as a girl, she had visions particularly of a nun, causing the Church to take an interest in her. Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the graveyard by the demonic entity.
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The next day, Irene and Burke return to the abbey, but only Irene can enter as it is cloistered. She meets some of the other nuns and learns that they are praying constantly, swapping in shifts, to keep the entity at bay. Sister Oana reveals the abbey's history: The duke summoned the demonic entity through a rift in the catacombs but was killed by Christian knights, who sealed the rift with an artifact containing the blood of Jesus Christ. The bombings during the Second World War caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the entity. Burke identifies the entity as Valak and discovers the Abbess has been dead all along.
Frenchie heads back to the abbey to help Irene and Burke. Irene is attacked by Valak and joins the nuns in desperate prayer to fend off the demon. When the group reunites, Irene discovers that none of the nuns she had seen and talked to were real and she had been praying alone, later realizing that Victoria had been the last nun in the abbey and had sacrificed herself to stop Valak from possessing her body and unleashing evil.
Theorizing that Valak can only be stopped if they seal the rift with the blood of Christ contained in the reliquary, the trio retrieves the vial with the key Victoria had.
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Irene then informs Burke that God has called her to make her solemn vows as a nun and asks Burke to elevate her to the status of a professed nun, which he does in the abbey's chapel. After the trio unlocks the tunnel door, Irene is lured into a pentagram and possessed by Valak. Frenchie smears some of the blood of Christ on her face, casting out the demon. Burke is wounded by Daniel's ghost as Valak starts to drown Irene in a flooded chamber. Irene expels the blood of Christ in the demon's face, banishing it as the blood of Christ seals the rift.
After Frenchie resuscitates Irene, he reveals his real name is Maurice. Unbeknownst to the others, Maurice has been possessed by Valak, as evidenced by an inverted cross on his neck. Twenty years later at a university seminar, Carolyn Perron watches as Ed and Lorraine Warren present footage of their attempt to exorcise a possessed Maurice. In the footage, Maurice grabs Lorraine, giving her visions of Ed dying, which initiate the Warrens' investigation of the Hodgson household haunting , as well as their encounter with Valak itself.
On June 15, , Warner Bros. Peter Safran and James Wan produced. The initial script for the film was written by David Leslie Johnson. Creation , Safran revealed that The Nun would chronologically come first in The Conjuring Universe , making it a further prequel to The Conjuring series and Annabelle series. He said, "We have a board that we created that has what we hope will ultimately be our series of movies.
We have it in chronological order, so we can keep track of where it all happens. Principal photography for the film began on May 3, , at Castel Film Studios in Bucharest , Romania, with Maxime Alexandre serving as cinematographer. The Nun reportedly went under extensive reshoots. The site's critical consensus reads, " The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic, and narrative slackness. The Plugged In review for the film summarized the spirituality evident in the film: Spiritual trappings are everywhere.
And when in doubt or danger, you can't go wrong with a little prayer. Rose Pacatte, a nun belonging to the Daughters of St. Paul , stated "that there are two Catholic theological aspects of this film that are accurate: On August 12, , Wan discussed a possibility for a Nun sequel and what its storyline may cover: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Peter Safran James Wan. Retrieved November 30,