Film review: ‘THE NUN’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

The Nun is the latest spin-off from the Conjuring supernatural horror movie series. The two Conjuring films themselves were thrilling, intense and unnerving spookfests but the spin-offs to date, such as Annabelle, have been underwhelming. Unfortunately, despite some extravagant set-pieces, The Nun is also a disappointment.

Set in the 1950’s, the film sees Jesuit Priest, Father Burke (Demian Birchir) despatched to Romania to investigate the suicide of a young nun in a creepy, isolated convent. He’s accompanied by young novice nun Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, sister of Vera who also appears in The Conjuring series) and a lanky French/Canadian delivery man nicknamed ‘Frenchie’ (Jonas Blouqeut) who found the body of the deceased nun. At the convent they of course spend most of their time creeping around in the dark waiting for ghosties – in particular a demonic presence that looks like Marilyn Manson in a nun’s habit – to leap out and attack them.

This thinly-plotted film feels like a padded-out episode of a supernatural horror TV show – simply not enough happens to justify feature length. After a sedate start, which vaguely introduces the three characters, the film becomes a ghost train of snarling demons and pop-up scares all of which are accompanied by nuclear bomb sound-effects. Some of the shocks are reasonably effective but director Corin Hardy doesn’t establish the necessary rhythm; the conjuring films escalated the scares within a believable and grounded world while The Nun just goes from zero to 100 and simply isn’t convincing. Also, much of the film’s effectiveness is neutered by its dull, gloomy lighting which obscures the action rather than creating a sinister atmosphere.

The three leads, Farmiga, Birchir and Blouquet are solid but not particularly engaging and once the demon rampage begins they’re left little to do but run around looking terrified.

Like The Conjuring films, The Nun has a deliberate religious message but unlike The Conjuring it doesn’t build a detailed and compelling story around it.

Nick’s rating: **

Genre: Supernatural horror.

Classification: MA15+.

Director(s): Corin Hardy.

Release date: 6th Aug 2018.

Running time: 96 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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