The time has come. The Nun is finally in theaters across The United States. Horror viewers have been pining for this movie since the title character was introduced in The Conjuring 2 and featured in Annabelle 2: Creation. Although the series is one of the most lucrative horror series in history, I can’t help but to wonder if audiences are leaving the theaters thinking, “that was it?” Because I certainly did. Out of the five set – The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun – I’m going to say that The Nun is the least scary and the least entertaining. It isn’t terrible by any means, but I don’t see myself watching it ever again or recommending it to a friend. A missed opportunity but certainly a quick money haul, The Nun is directed by Corin Hardy (The Hallow) and produced by James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw) and Peter Safran (Flatliners, The Conjuring 2). Based on the screenplay by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, IT), The Nun follows a young nun, a miracle hunting priest and a good ol’ Romanian country boy as they travel to a sequestered convent after a nun takes her own life. Only after their investigation begins do they come to realize that a malevolent force is haunting the abbey and using its faithful as pawns in its game to be further released into the world. The abbey becomes a battleground between good and evil as the young nun and her comrades try to seal the demonic entity away for good. The Nun stars Taissa Farmiga (The Final Girls), Demian Bichir (Machete Kills), Jonas Bloquet (Elle), Ingrid Bisu, Charlotte Hope, Sandra Teles, Ani Sava, Lynette and Bonnie Aarons as The Nun.
I’m not going to beat a dead nun with a stick, but I am going to share my opinion as to why The Nun was an underwhelming feature film. Before the movie really kicked off, there were a few scenes – particularly outside – that seemed under-produced for a movie this big. It could’ve been the theater quality or an outdated screen, but some shots looked like they belonged on a straight-to-DVD RedBox release, not one of the biggest horror releases of the year. CAUTION: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD! PROCEED WITH CAUTION! The acting was better than average, of course, but the casting of Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene was a bit confusing because I kept thinking she was a teenage Lorraine Warren (as portrayed by her sister, Vera Farmiga). This wasn’t the case, however, and I can see other audience members being confused and expecting the same outcome as I did. However, this idea and coincidence (both women receive visions) could be remedied if The Nun unfortunately gets its own sequel. And while The Nun paints a clear picture of how it connects to The Conjuring, its origin movie fails to connect it to Annabelle: Creation; although, again, this could be fixed with another movie. Maybe what I’m trying to say here is The Nun wasn’t the correct vehicle to launch Valak into its own large scale villain status. The story didn’t do it any justice, and was a lackluster entry in the series at best. Annabelle had its slow moments, but at least it had a raw suspense to it. The Nun is a predictable demonic activity plot with great acting wasted on an unchallenged script in a grand location.
Predictable. Boring. And the story was so weak it numbed Valak down to something less scary. The final moments of Annabelle: Creation served as more frightful moment than all of The Nun combined. And don’t get me started on the whole blood of Christ thing. So, so hokey. I’d rather the spirits that The Warrens & Co go up against be shrouded in more mystery than the stark statement of – they are 100% demons from the Bible and demons from Hell. That’s too much of an easy escape for a horror series that’s done a fine job with originality thus far. Now, my fiance and I have differing opinions on this movie, and it seems like the majority of the American public may disagree with me as it was just announced that The Nun made $54,000,000 in ticket sales this weekend. For me, though, the hype surrounding The Nun did not justify the few moments of horror and the plot that fell flat except in the last fifteen minutes. I didn’t find Sister Irene nearly endearing enough as Lorraine Warren and Sister Charlotte, and Frenchie wasn’t studly enough to warrant any thrill-seeking fantasies. I’m excited to see where the Conjuring franchise goes as a whole, but I’ll be cautious of another sequel from this particular feature. The movie was a fine production that was comprised of a capable cast, but the scares were non-existent, the suspense was as bland as passages in the Bible, and the story did nothing to heighten the threat and exude the terror that Valak should command. A missed opportunity. Final Score: 5 out of 10.