In a world full of knock-off Marvel cinematic universes, The Conjuring franchise breathes new light – and fright – into a film industry which is barely treading water. But in the case of The Nun, the franchise may have just capsized.
Despite some great cinematography and some (mostly) decent acting, The Nun comes off as a shameless cash grab that only conjures up laughter. Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun follows the exploits of the obligatory demon and its antics against a nun who has not taken her vows. Predictable scares ensue, with entire scenes devoted to a couple seconds of cheap terror. If the nun were a ninja, her flat feet would be detected a mile away.
Anchored down by a conventional plot and a peanut gallery of cliches, the only thing that could have redeemed this ghastly film is the pockets of gorgeous lighting and cinematography. Maybe theaters should have included a coffin along with ticket sales, because this film bored me to death.
The Nun sticks you with unsympathetic characters who make no real effort to avoid danger. When chaos ensues throughout the film, you end up never really feeling like anybody is in danger due to the abundance of plot convenience, which saves every character more than three times each. The script makes little effort to develop these characters as well, turning its leads into generic screaming machines.
Even the dialogue is incredibly generic and, at times, even cringe-worthy. A scene towards the end involving two characters talking about a macguffin has some of the cheesiest dialogue I have ever heard in a film, and I have seen a lot of Schwarzenegger movies.
Horror film characters typically fall into different archetypes; the fool, the jock, the nerd, the virgin and the promiscuous friend. When separated into five characters with distinct personalities and various amounts of screen time, it works. But for some reason The Nun decides to cram up to three of these archetypes into one character each. This result includes a particularly annoying French-Canadian character who may as well have had on a shirt that read “laugh at me.” I would be okay with a character structured so oddly, except everything he says or does led to me essentially begging the Nun to kill him first. Or second, or at all.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment with this film is the potential it had. The first two Conjuring films are amazing works of cinema that director James Wan put tons of work and focus into. The real secret seemed to be in keeping the paranormal scares secondary to the human drama.
What clearly separates The Nun from its predecessors, is the huge lack of focus placed on the script and editing, resulting in a messy and badly paced film. We were promised the scariest sequel of all time, but instead we got background noise to a teenage make out session.
Ultimately there is Nun special about this film. If you are looking to start the spooky season a little early with a scary movie, I recommend revisiting the first two Conjuring films and avoid this lesser, distantly related cousin.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment