A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29% (Critics) / 51% (Audience)
MetaScore: 46 – Mixed or average reviews
Directed By: Corin Hardy
Written By: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet anchor THE NUN with their performances. Bichir brings gravitas as the veteran priest/exorcist while Farmiga has just the right mix of wide-eyed naivete and (psychically enhanced) worldliness when it comes to supernatural shenanigans. Best, and most surprising of all, was Bloquet who brought a ton of charm and much needed levity to this film as the rakish local farmer with the bad luck of getting dragged into this nightmare.
I really liked the through line of THE NUN to THE CONJURING by connecting a character (who wasn’t the titular Nun) from this movie to the events of the first film in The Conjuring franchise. It makes this connected universe feel very cohesive while not being heavy handed with the need to make everything connect whether it fits or not.
Despite being pretty new to the feature film directing scene, Corin Hardy does a good job of making THE NUN maintain the feel of the rest of the films in this shared universe while also feeling a bit original just based on the setting and the characters. Hardy has a very good eye for making sure his film looks stylish which I only assume comes from his time as a music video director and it serves him well here.
While Hardy gets credit for his directing style I do have to ding him for how derivative the scares in this film are. It is like there is a manual full of directing steps that must be followed in these films and Hardy doesn’t deviate from that manual at all. Every jump scare was telegraphed from a mile away because I had seen it before. It would be nice if someone would break away from the routine a bit when directing these demonic possession horror movies.
Taissa Farmiga is a good actress and she does a good job in the role of Sister Irene but it was so distracting having her in this movie because she looks so much like her older sister Vera Farmiga (who plays Lorraine Warren in this movie universe) that I initially thought that she was just playing a younger Lorraine. And honestly it would have probably been cooler to save Taissa for an early days of Ed and Lorraine Warren film than to use her in THE NUN as an entirely different character who was only 3 degrees of separation away from the character her sister plays.
Nuns freak me out. Always have, always will. I am more freaked out by nuns than clowns and clown horrify me. If someone made a movie about a demonic clown nun I would probably die of fright while watching it.
Final Verdict: Rife with recycled jump scares, THE NUN still features wonderful performances by its lead actors and despite the cliche nature of it’s direction it is still all done very stylishly.