THE NUN – Spectacularly Attrocious

It had been over five years since I saw Kernel Mitch, one of the original Kernels from way back in the day. He put his hand up to join me at the screening for THE NUN this past Monday. It was a good catch up and he expressed his interest in reviewing the movie and with me drowning in a pile of near insurmountable reviews I gladly accepted his offer. Thank God – the movie is so bad my review would have just been bile. But the night was fun and Roadshow put on a great screening with cool interactive things to do beforehand. THE NUN releases today – it is rated MA15+ and runs for 96mins. Welcome back Mitch – enjoy his review peeps……all the best……Salty.

BY

ODDLY UNEXPECTED AND FRANKLY UNNECESSARY ALLITERATION

”Holy s**t!” exclaims an overwhelmed, wide-eyed stable-hand as he gawks, mouth agape at the sight of the relic in the priests’ tremoring grip. Without breaking momentum, the breathless priest raises his hand and proclaims in a perfectly misplaced deadpan response, ”the holiest.” This is the type of oddly unexpected and frankly unnecessary shtick that downshifts this already mediocre gothic tale of supernaturality into a confused cauldron of conflicting comic-relief and dreadfully desperate jump-scares.

 

The Nun Taissa Farmiga image

 

THE NUN SIN-OPSIS

’s sophomore effort, THE NUN is Warner Bros.’ newest inductee into their hugely profitable but critically divisive CONJURING universe. With a story written by Gary Dauberman (IT, ANNABELLE) and OG alum, , the 1952 European setting makes this 5th film instalment the 1st to take place chronologically. Tying itself to the case of the ENFIELD POLTERGEIST from 2, THE NUN is an origin story of the demon VALAK last seen terrorising Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and ) in the 2016 Jems Wan horror.

Set against the backdrop of a Romanian village untouched by time, a Catholic priest (), a novice nun (Taissa Farmiga) and a local farm-hand () are brought together by order of The Vatican to investigate the mysterious suicide of a nun at the quiet nearby , an isolated and greatly feared establishment in which the deeply superstitious village locals spit at the mere mention of.

 

The Nun Jonas Bloquet image
Jonas Bloquet

 

THE GOD…

The beautifully grim monastery itself is, to the production crews’ credit, Corvin Castle, a real Romanian location and one of the largest castles in Europe. Legend has it, the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, Vlad the Impaler, was said to have served out his longest and harshest imprisonment in this actual castle which can only contribute to the foreboding sense of doom you get merely by seeing it on screen. Needless to say, this location and it’s studio filmed set designs are THE NUN’s greatest achievements.

 

The Nun Demián Bichir image
Demián Bichir

 

…THE BAD AND THE UGLY

As the movie progresses into its first scare, you’re immediately introduced to a concept that I refer to as STUDIO SOLICITED SCARES. As in, a producer or studio executive read the final draft of the screenplay and in red pen, scribbled every few pages were notes that simply read, ”Something scary needs to happen here.” Famously dubbed as JUMP SCARES, THE NUN is unfortunately riddled with them and does nothing whatsoever to actually earn them. The select ingredients for honest horror here are woefully underutilized. The concept of religions deeply guarded insidious side, the gothic-renaissance castle setting, the suspicious and threatening events, a brilliantly gloomy Gregorian choral soundtrack and agent’s of God being creepy AF should have me singing sinful praises but alas, I have nun. (Sorry, had to.)

In terms of the production itself, our three main leads responsible for Father Burke, Sister Irene and Frenchie deliver sound performances. Nobody is particularly outstanding for any negative reason but neither are they for anything overtly positive either. It should be noted that Sister Irene is played by Taissa Farmiga, the younger sibling of actress Vera Farmiga who of course has also faced-off against the titular NUN as Lorraine Warren in THE CONJURING 2 (2016). Outside of these three, we have support players that contribute to nothing but an eventual body count and of course, THE NUN herself, VALAK played by character actress Bonnie Aarons (Baroness Joy von Troken from THE PRINCESS DIARIES films, for those wanting to see her out of her haunted habit.)

 

The Nun Taissa Farmiga image
Taissa Farmiga

 

NUN THE WISER

Bonnie adopts a Terminator-esque presence in parts of this film akin to Principal Skinner stalking Bart across rivers in a relentless attempt to prove his truancy. Her penchant for being everywhere at once gradually becomes less threatening and more comedic and even though I admittedly have never found the character of Valak as frightening as some of Wan’s other creations, THE NUN as both a character and a film still hasn’t won me over.

THE HOLY FAIL

THE NUN may only be his second ever directorial effort and as a fan of great horror when it’s executed proficiently, I believe there is potential for director Corin Hardy’s future projects. And let’s face it, based on the expected box-office success that this movie’s target audience will likely deliver unto it, his future opportunities may help him find his niche but in this particular case, THE NUN just didn’t have me singing hallelujah like I’d hoped.

 

 

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

Soccer style kicker, graduated from Collier High June 1976, Stetson University honours graduate class of 1980, holds 2 NCAA Division One records (one for most points in a season, one for distance), former nickname: “The Mule”, the first and only pro-athlete ever to come out of Collier County and one hell of a model American! When Mitch isn’t quoting Ace Ventura though, he’s producing video content, providing voice-overs and deciding between ketchup or catsup. Follow Mitch Lewis at @theycallmemito