Hot Take: Noisy jump scares and repetitive scenes drag down the latest installment in The Conjuring Universe. Don’t worry, though. There’s yet another sequel/spin-off teed up here so this franchise can continue to tap the horror cash keg at the box office.
While earlier this year anyone who reads MHT could have questioned my earlier stance that I’m not a fan of horror films. Currently, A Quiet Place and Hereditary sit at #2 and #3 on my Top Movies of 2018 list. The latest horror flick to grace theaters with it’s presence, The Nun, suffers a dissimilar fate as it appears near the bottom of the list similar to previous entries in The Conjuring Extended Universe. Yes, that’s a thing. The Conjuring, 2013’s box office monster, has spawned a sequel, two Annabelle movies, a couple of short films and now The Nun. (There’s also a plan to release a third Annabelle film and The Conjuring 3 as well as something called The Crooked Man, so this extended universe shows no signs of slowing down.) The Nun is a prequel of sorts but more of a spin-off of The Conjuring films as it tells the story of the “Demon Nun” character Valak which appears in The Conjuring 2.
The film takes place in Romania in 1952 and follows the story of an old Monastery seemingly haunted by an evil spirit. The Vatican is brought in when a nun is found outside of the Monastery hanged from the Monastery window in what appears to be a suicide. The Vatican sends Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate which starts with an interview of Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), the villager who discovered the nun’s body. Father Burke is one of the Vatican’s leading investigator of the paranormal and Sister Irene is a nun in her novitiate but is chosen by the Vatican as she had previously had visions. Accompanied by Frenchie, the pair head to the Monastery where they instantly feel uneasy about the unholy feeling the place has which is a precursor for the next hour-plus of jump scares and loud screams.
The Nun devolves into your typical horror flick. There are plenty of unanswered questions or requirements of the audience to accept unexplainable phenomenon such as Father Burke ending up buried alive by the demonic entity and being discovered and unearthed so quickly by Sister Irene who is less impressive with her listening skills and more impressive with how quickly she’s able to shovel the ground which showed no signs of being recently turned despite Father’s most recent trip below the surface. There are almost no rules here as the film can do whatever it wants whenever it wants including tossing around its protagonists like rag dolls but none seeming to be too debilitated by the demon’s overwhelming strength.
It’s likely The Nun will satisfy The Conjuring‘s fan base as it’s more of the same from the immensely popular franchise. Having sat through at least one Annabelle film (I honestly can’t remember if I saw both) and the second film in The Conjuring series, The Nun is exactly what I expected to see. That’s not necessarily good for me but it might be good for those who are invested in the series. More importantly, the only way to exorcize these horror demons out of the cinema would be to have a poor box office showing. However, The Nun has had 2 strong weeks at the box office and will likely break $100 million domestically during the 3rd or 4th week of release so expect more of the same from The Conjuring Universe down the road.
Even though they barely appear, you know Ed and Lorraine’s last name.
When it comes to horror flicks, you’ll have nun of it. Get it?