The ones who love horror movies and the Conjuring universe, in particular, are rooting for its latest offering - The Nun. When Conjuring released in 2013, it had a great run at the box office and that prompted the makers to come up with its sequel and now the prequel. While the trailer was horrifying, you may wonder if the movie is equally terrifying. Well, It is NOT. As a true horror movie buff, I was excited to hear the story behind this evil spirit but sadly my expectations hit the ceiling. The Nun as we all know is the prequel to the entire Conjuring universe and it tries to justify the hype surrounding it. However, it could have been tighter and a lot scarier.
Directed by Corin Hardy and written by James Wann and Gary Dauberman, the movie starts with a shocking suicide by a nun in Romania. The incident worries the Vatican city and they decide to send in Father Burke to investigate the matter (in other words, to decide if the Abbey is holy anymore). He is assisted by Sister Irene who is yet to take her holy vows. When they reach Romania to solve all their queries, they are helped by a naive young French-Canadian man - Frenchie. However, it's only after they reach the dark and mysterious Abbey do they realise the presence of an evil. What follows next is a tale of certain twists and turns that finally answers some of our long pending questions like who is the Nun!
Honestly, if you ask me to describe the entire experience, I would say the film is a notch below than any of the Conjuring movies. Now when I say Conjuring, I don't include Annabelle in it. However, there are certain scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They will even make you repent your decision of booking the tickets in an IMAX theatre. It's scary in parts and the ones who are easily scared will vow to never watch it again. In films that go back in time, location is the key. And fortunately, it works in The Nun's case. The isolated mysterious Abbey located in the dense woods will frighten you of your wits and you won't even bother to enter inside. The movie relied heavily on making the Abbey look scary and kudos to the makers for achieving this feat. However, since you are stuck in the same locale in every other scene, you might crave for some change. The feeling resembles like you walking in a dark tunnel with a hope that there's light at the end of it. However, in this case, the light never comes and you just keep walking.
Taissa Farmiga as sister Irene does a commendable job. She's as good as her real sister Vera Farmiga (who plays Lauren in Conjuring). Demian Bichir as Father Burke too lends a helping hand to her, though, his character could have been meatier. More on that later. Jonas Bloquet, however, is wasted throughout the film and you wonder why did he even sign it in the first place. Yes, we understand he had some vital scenes during the climax and he also bears a connection to Conjuring but otherwise he was barely noticeable in the entire movie. Guess the makers just had to show him flirting with sister Irene and establish a reason why he agrees to help them in the first place. The direction by Corin Hardy is fine. And the background score is great.
Coming to factors that might work against the film - its loose script and thinly sketched characters. When you have a film that barely has three crucial characters, you would want your story to revolve around them. When Sister Irene shows her concern on joining Father Burke for Romania, you wonder if that's related to the story somewhere. Or even Father Burke's sad past that keeps haunting him throughout, you are eager to know its valid connection. Unfortunately, writer James Wann fails to narrate their stories in a manner that would pique your interest. When you go to a movie theatre with an expectation to scream from the top of your lungs, you don't want to rely on random jump scares. You want to have an adrenaline rush and dread the evil that's causing a havoc on screen. Something that was clearly perceived in Conjuring and Conjuring 2. The movie makers should have invested some more time in scripting a solid story than presenting a half-baked cake.
The story behind the Nun's origin is juvenile. When you know the character is so important in the entire universe and stakes are so high for it, you have to present your best work and put the best foot forward. Unfortunately, the film's story fails to create any stir. Also, there is no explanation behind how the demon awakens once it's put to rest. Either the writer relied heavily on his audience to deduce their own conclusions or the director couldn't execute it.
The story could have been interesting
Characters could have been well-written
The Nun is better than Annabelle but not as great as Conjuring or Conjuring 2. That's it. We rest our case.