The 5th instalment in The Conjuring Universe, The Nun is as terrible a spin-off as Annabelle was all those years ago. A poorly directed, awfully scripted & shoddily performed gothic horror that begins on a good note but only treads downhill as plot progresses, the film suffers due to its substandard premise, thinly-sketched characters, predictable jump scares & ineffective twists, and is one of the worst films of the year.
Set in 1952 Romania, the story of The Nun follows a Roman Catholic priest and a nun-in-the-making who are summoned by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun at a secluded abbey. Soon after their arrival, paranormal phenomena begin to escalate as the priest finds himself being haunted by his dark past while the novice finds her faith tested as they together try to uncover an unholy secret and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Directed by Corin Hardy, the film does exhibit signs of promise in the beginning as Hardy tries to invest in establishing a dark, gothic & chilling atmosphere and yet when the time comes to utilise it, he resorts to the tired, foreseeable jump scares that rarely surprise anymore. The subplot concerning the priest’s past has no reason to exist, for it neither adds anything of relevance nor enriches the overall experience. And that’s just one of the many unnecessary stuff crammed into this narrative.
The characters keep making stupid decisions throughout the movie. The twists n turns come off as rather nonsensical. Its attempts at scaring the audience is more comical than its attempts at humour. The origin story of the titular demon is even worse. The characters are lacking the required depth due to which the actors have nothing to build their act upon. And the climactic showdown is just facepalm-inducing. In short, there isn’t one thing in this picture that we haven’t seen before.
Speaking of the performances, Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga & Jonas Bloquet are new additions to the franchise while Bonnie Aarons returns as Valak, our demonic nun. Bichir plays the priest and though there was much that could’ve been done to his character, he’s left to fight his past demons instead. Farmiga puts in some effort to make her nun persona appealing but there just isn’t enough material to work with. As for Bloquet, he becomes annoying real quick. And Aarons as Valak isn’t as terrifying as she was the last time.
On an overall scale, The Nun is by all means a forgettable entry in this cinematic universe, for it fails to make the most of what was up for grabs and offers a tale so dull, uninspiring & ridden with clichés that nothing about it stands out in the end. The only salvageable elements are its low-light cinematography & passable score while the rest make up for one unholy mess that’s as incompetent as it is uninteresting. A strong contender for the worst instalment in the franchise, The Nun is disappointing on more levels than one. Darkest chapter in The Conjuring Universe, my ass.