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There’s something about a missed opportunity that just makes you sad…
The Nun actually has a lot going for it and it kind of works as a fun prequel in the universe of The Conjuring but some maddening creative choices will leave you scratching your head more than anything else.
When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest (Demian Bichir) with a haunted past and a novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in The Conjuring 2, as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.
In trying to capture the gothic side of the coin in this horror yarn, The Nun does a solid job at establishing mood and atmosphere but having the bulk of the movie take place in near darkness was a creative choice that was bordering on maddening.
With director Colin Hardy whose work you may have seen previously in The Hallow now taking the helm here in The Conjuring universe there is no doubt that he is a solid hand as he puts together a very good looking and slick horror film…that is if we could see the damn thing. In an attempt to capture a ‘gothic’ horror vibe, most of the film takes place in the shadows of this large and looming convent where all these mysterious deaths are happening but they went a little too far as you can barely see a damn thing. There’s just enough light to appreciate production design, sets and things of that nature but when you can barely see your two leads it makes you wonder what the point of shooting with them was in the first place. The screenplay by Gary Dauberman is decent enough and allows us to get into the origins of this character. It all plays out pretty simply, never digging too deep but that’s OK as we’re really just here for some entertainingly creepy moments, and there’s enough to make it all work, especially in concert with a subtle undertone of humor which allows it all to never feel too severe, even when a crazy demonic nun is staring you down.
It’s really just a cavalcade of hokum and nonsense…but that’s what we bought a ticket for to be perfectly honest so it’s OK to go with that.
Demian Bichir and Taissa Farmiga were fine in their respective roles but since this is very much a film that favors style over substance neither really gets a lot of character moments to shine as they basically act as place holders, there to drive the action and not playing any significant role in the entire Conjuring Universe. It’s more about launching The Nun into the world and that’s kind of why this movie works, it’s all about the ride.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are top notch as expected and the special features include three short but pretty informative behind the scenes featurettes as well as 10 minutes of deleted scenes.
Ultimately, The Nun ain’t high art but if you can get over the ‘stylistic’ choice of being in the dark, it is a decent little timewaster that gives The Conjuring universe some slightly more rounded edges going forward.