“What’s the opposite of a miracle, Father?”
The Nun is a 2018 American gothic supernatural horror film directed by Corin Hardy and written by Gary Dauberman. From a story by Dauberman and James Wan. A spin-off of 2016’s The Conjuring 2, and the fifth instalment in The Conjuring Universe.
In 1952 Romania, two Roman Catholic nuns living at the Saint Cartha’s monastery are attacked by an unseen force. When they enter a tunnel to retrieve an ancient Christian relic. The surviving nun, Sister Victoria, flees from the attacker, a demon appearing as a nun, and hangs herself. Her body is discovered by Frenchie, a villager who transports supplies to the nuns.
The Vatican learns of the incident and summons Father Burke (Demián Bichir) to Rome. They ask him to travel with Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), a nun in her novitiate, to Romania in order to investigate the situation. While Sr. Irene is teaching children the relationship between religion and science in a school, her Mother Superior interrupts her. She informs her that Burke has arrived in order to request Irene’s accompaniment in his trip to Romania.
The pair travel to Romania and meet with Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), who leads them to the abbey. They discover Victoria’s body and remove a key from her corpse. Inside, they encounter the Abbess, who informs them that the nuns observe a period of silence during the night. She offers them lodging at the attached convent if they wish to return the next day.
Frenchie is attacked by a demon as he returns to the village, but escapes. Burke tells Irene that a boy he exorcised, Daniel, was fatally injured during the exorcism. Burke has carried the burden of the boy’s death with him ever since. Irene reveals that as a girl, she had visions particularly of a nun, causing the Church to take an interest in her. Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the graveyard by the demonic entity.
The next day, Irene and Burke return to the abbey, but only Irene can enter as it is cloistered. She meets some of the other nuns and learns that they are praying constantly. Constantly swapping in shifts, to keep the entity at bay. Sister Oana reveals the abbey’s history: it was built as a castle by a duke who was obsessed with the occult. The duke summoned the demonic entity through a rift in the catacombs. But was killed by Christian knights, who sealed the rift with an artefact containing the blood of Jesus Christ. The bombings during the Second World War caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the entity. Burke identifies the entity as Valak (Bonnie Aarons) and discovers that things aren’t quite as they seem.
Will they find the answers they seek, and at what cost?
Exorcism and demon themed films are overdone, but I’m a sucker for them all the same. I love watching a handsome priest splash holy water while passionately shouting bible verses, there’s just something in it that always entertains me.
The Nun does that just that, it entertained me. But unfortunately it did have its problems. I’m sure we all saw the trailers for The Nun before it came out, and therein lies the issue, it gave away most of its good scares. I knew what was coming so it lacked impact. Speaking of scares, although this film did have some great moments. Although it spared Valak from being too overexposed, I just didn’t find it scary enough.
It’s not all bad though. Taissa Farmiga performed well (and I’m not usually a fan of hers) and I enjoyed the reveal of the abbey, even if it was predictable. The supporting cast also performed well, even though their characters were very underdeveloped.
Overall, The Nun is entertaining and the strongest moments certainly involve Valak which is what the whole movie is about so that’s no bad thing. Besides some predictability, dodgy cgi and lack of scares, I was still entertained by The Nun and I hope the theory that Sister Irene is Lorraine Warren turns out to be true. As if written correctly that could make for one hell of a sequel for this movie.