First and foremost, I would like to say congratulations to the filmmakers for succeeding where Universal and Tom Cruise failed. They managed to create a modern, shared universe of horror films that was for the most part successful, bar a couple of exceptions. The Nun (2018) is the fifth installment of The Conjuring franchise, not counting the “My Annabelle Creation” winner The Nurse (2017).
The film follows the ordeal set at a Romania monastery where one of the sisters has recently committed suicide. In response, the Vatican sends in Father Burke (Demán Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farminga) to investigate. Once they get there, bad things start to happen. Which is courtesy of the titular nun (Bonnie Aarons), who is actually a demon (in case you couldn’t figure that out just by looking at her).
Going into the film, I had one big question about the general premise: why was the whole movie about the Demon Nun in the first place, as the scariest part of The Conjuring 2 was the Crooked Man (Javier Botet). Though another spin-off with him is apparently in the works, so I suppose it all works out.
The biggest question with any new horror movie is whether or not it’s frightening. So, is the movie scary? Oh yes. Farmiga’s uncanny resemble to her older sister and Conjuring star Vera Farmiga was kind of creepy, though that might just be me.
Being serious now, I did find this movie to be frightening. Aarons, who you might recognize from her brief, but memorable scene in Mulholland Dr. (2001) as the bum behind Winkie’s, was terrifying. This movie also had exactly what I was looking for when watching a horror movie.
It had mood and atmosphere. The set pieces in particular were nicely done. The film also wasn’t just a never-ending series of jump scares, which I consider to be the cheapest form of horror. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of jump scares in the film, but they’re always preceded by a buildup of suspense, which I consider to be jumpscares done right.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this movie is that I would describe it as a throwback to old school horror, like the other films in the franchise, except Annabelle (2014). Similar to The Nun, Annabelle was a Conjuring spin-off focused on a scary but scarcely used character. Though I would describe Annabelle as less of a throwback and more of a rip-off of several better horror movies. Ironically, both The Nun and Annabelle unnecessarily show old footage at the start of their movies.
The characters in the film were fine. What I mean by fine is that perhaps there could have been a bit more characterization and character development, but I didn’t feel like that was something that totally ruined the movie for me. I didn’t find myself muttering “I don’t care what happens to these people.”
Despite having receiving mixed reviews from other critics, I for one thought that this movie was well done. If you are someone who enjoys these types of movies, then I highly recommend checking this one out.