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The Nun (2018) Horror Movie Review

Updated on September 28, 2019
Noel Penaflor7 profile image

I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 13 years.

For those of you that care that The Nun is the 5th part of the forced, uneven shared horror Universe that includes the 2 Conjurings (good) and the 2 Annabelles (not good), you’ll be satisfied to know that The Nun is a shard more enjoyable than that Jennifer Garner revenge movie that also opens this weekend.

Other than that, watching a movie that follows an actual nun might be more diverting than whatever you’ll see from The Nun onscreen. It’s one of those movies look good from the trailer, then you watch the movie and wish you’d just left it at the trailer. The Nun is the first film of the ConjurVerse with an ‘R’ rating, and it has its fair share of jump and forced Foley scares, but this is only effective if you’ve never seen a horror movie before.

Synopsis

The Nun opens with the ominous title card “This Really Happened in 1952”. But if you’ve seen the Conjuring and Annabelle movies then you know that the title card should read “Some of this kind of happened in 1952, But we've added jump scares and special effects and random shots of fog”.

We’re in Romania, and Non-Evil Nun #1 and Non-Evil Nun #2 go to a door in their abbey that reads “God Ends Here”. Of course, Non-Evil Nun #1 opens the door and walks in to retrieve a very powerful object/MacGuffin. Non-Evil Nun #2 anxiously awaits. After a bit, Non-Evil Nun #1 comes back looking much worse for wear, and before she is Found-Footage dragged back through the door, she throws Non-Evil Nun #2 the object.

Non-Evil Nun #2 knows what she must do. Which is to hang herself dramatically from the bell tower so that the crows can pick at her eyes when someone finds her in the morning.

The next morning, the local delivery boy Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) goes to the Abbey and finds a Non-Evil Nun dangling from the bell tower while crows pick at her eyes. So dramatic it should be the shot before the opening credits of an unexceptional horror movie.

Meanwhile, back at the Vatican Father Burke (Demian Bechir) is asked to investigate the nun’s suicide. Since suicide is a sin, Father Burke is supposed to determine if the Abbey where the nun killed herself is still technically Hallowed Ground.

The Vatican also demands Father Burke get a sidekick, Sister Irene (American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga, whose sister Vera Farmiga plays Elaine Warren in the Conjuring movies). She’s a nun, but not really a nun since she hasn’t officially taken her vows yet. But why is a rookie nun pairing up with a veteran priest to fight evil? You won’t know until an affected third act info dump.

Burke and Sister Irene fly to Romania to get some answers, but not without Frenchie’s (not his real name) help.

All of this would lead you to believe you’re watching a better movie. But you’d be wrong.

What Works With The Nun

  • The movie’s most effective scare is the one you’ve seen in all the trailers. Yes, that’s the one. Better you know now that wait until the end credits to realize this one your own
  • Allusions to the Conjuring movies only illustrate how much better the Conjuring Movies are. Just see those movies again. You’d be better off. Or see Hereditary as it came out this week on Blu-Ray. It’s infinitely better.

Praying you don't actually watch this movie.
Praying you don't actually watch this movie.

What Doesn't Work With The Nun

  • As I was watching The Nun, I wondered what was wrong with the movie in real-time because I sure wasn’t being scared. I get the feeling director Corin Hardy (The Hallow) or other producers saw the first cut of the movie, saw that it was boring, and then Blumhoused some forced scares into another cut just so it would pass as a horror movie. Unless you find countless scenes of walking down a dark room with a candle terrifying. There’s as sequence in a graveyard that feels so out of place, like it was shot a month before the official release just to keep the audience awake
  • A scene in a involving a coffin is just so unintentionally funny that it’s the most the audience is involved with what’s going on in the story. After the scene is over you ask yourself why the 2 main characters don’t just leave. The answer is: because there’s 45 minutes left in the movie.
  • The Nun- left to her own movie, the nun is just not that scary. She was exponentially scarier in her side story in Conjuring 2 and even her brief appearance in Annabelle Creation. In her own movie, she just doesn’t do enough to warrant a genuine scare or a full-length movie
  • This is the kind of movie where praying is meant to be an action sequence. Really.

Overall

You can count the scares in The Nun with one hand, and I’m being generous by 3 fingers. The Nun isn’t a terrible movie because that would imply you feel something while watching it. It’s so mediocre you’d think it stars Dwayne Johnson.

2 stars for The Nun

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