The Nun Review : How Not To Do a Horror Movie

Well its that time of year again, another autumn, another Conjuring spin-off in between mainline entries. Those of you who have been here since last fall know I have a history with Conjuring spin offs. Last year we had Annabelle: Creation and given how poorly that went (Spoiler Alert: my screening did not go well) I figured what better way to start writing again than to do a follow-up piece.

The best performance in The Nun come from Vera Farmiga’s little sister, (Vera Farmiga portrays Loraine Warren in the mainline Conjuring movies) Taissa Farmiga. Taissa Farmiga gives a grounded performance that really kept the movie afloat. Every other performance in the movie feels over the top and it ends up killing the atmosphere. Case in point is Frenchie (portrayed by Jonas Baquet).  Frenchie is meant to serve as the comedic relief but he ends up feeling over the top and annoying. Whenever Frenchie is on the screen the tension just immediately vanishes, right when it should be cranked up to eleven.  The only other major performance comes from Demian Bichir who portrays the priest who accompanies Taissa Farmiga’s character to the abbey. I honestly don’t have much to say about this one other than that the acting was pretty solid.

The only good things I can say about The Nun is that the special effects and the set design were both actually pretty good but that’s about it.

Now for the bad. To start off  the  story is almost nonexistent.without spoilers, it just feels like a bunch of people running around an abandoned abbey for an hour and a half. Yet it still tries to have a story with these long expository monologues that just end up boring the audience instead of sucking them in. To Be honest I was bored and about ready to leave a good 45 minutes into the movie.

What I absolutely hated about The Nun is its lack of originality. So many times during this movie I went “oh I’ve seen this exact shot before in this movie” or “I’ve seen this set piece in that movie”. It just comes off as lazy writing, like they couldn’t think of anything new or interesting so they stole ideas from other, better movies and called it a day.

The worst thing about The Nun is that it isn’t scary. Every scare in this movie was a jump scare (something popping out at you accompanied by a loud noise). The thing is The Nun does jump scares the wrong way. For a jump scare to work you need build up, excellent sound design, and good pacing, The Nun has nun (I’m sorry but I had to make that pun) of these things. Every time something jumps out at you, you know its going to happen long in advance. There’s no tension to it. It’s just one loud noise and image after the next with no breathing room in between which is also essential for a good jump scare. After a jump scare you want to give the audience a minute to breathe, like they’ve earned some small reprieve before the tension ramps back up, The Nun doesn’t do that. In the third act you have about 20 seconds between each scare. That’s not enough time to ramp things back up. And when it does give you a minute to breathe it leaves you there too long so it can launch into some giant expository monologue, and by the time it’s done there’s no tension left to build on.

In the end The Nun is a movie that fails on almost every level. The story isn’t compelling, the pacing is a mess, and worst of all it’s not scary. As a huge fan of The Conjuring films and horror movies in general I was disappointed. I went in wanting to like the movie and came out disappointed by the waste of potential.

I Rate The Nun a 4.9 or D- A.K.A. wait for it to come to Netflix if you’re a die hard fan.

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