‘The Nun’ is more creepy than terrifying — and that’s great

‘The Nun’ is more creepy than terrifying — and that’s great

‘The Nun’ is more creepy than terrifying — and that’s great
September 11
16:15 2018

The last decade saw what many avid horror enthusiasts would consider to be a bunch of films that were largely unoriginal, ridiculous, CG-filled and just flat-out not scary.

“The Conjuring” franchise, which “The Nun” is a part of, was the first on the scene this decade to offer a fresh, cerebrally thoughtful universe that did exactly what was needed to inject some life into the horror genre. While “The Nun” treads predictable waters, it manages to skate the line with a few surprising and unique mis-directions throughout, as well as use some subtle nods and connective tissue to the other films in the franchise, like: “Annabelle” (2014), “Annabelle: Creation” (2017), “The Conjuring” (2013), “The Conjuring 2” (2016).

A nun kills herself at an abbey deep in the forests of Romania, which leads the Vatican to call on the services of father Burke (Demien Bichir), a paranormal specialist who acted as a chaplain during World War II. He is paired with soon-to-be nun Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), and the two set out to investigate.

As I said before, this film’s strongest asset is its fantastic use of misdirection with regards to its scares. “The Conjuring” franchise has become known for long wide-angle shots that make you uncomfortable because of the suspenseful-ness of the scene. And while this film has an obvious cadence to it, every so often they set up a scare or suggest something is coming and still managed to surprise me as the scare came from different directions. This adds a layer of depth to the shots, making the fear possibly come from more angles, which in turn made me very uneasy.

Another thing this film gets right is its sound. Much of what I heard is not commonly found in modern day paranormal flicks, and I found myself watching in dread as a possessed child screeched with ambiguously familiar insect noises as he stalked the protagonist. Creepy monk chants rouse every time the big baddie is on screen, and the creaky sounds of an old abbey matched with its haunting bell adds even further to the mood this movie already has.

Speaking of the big baddie, the nun is a mixed bag. I think there is too much shoddy CG in animating the creature’s face, and when it’s not creepily stalking or grimly and silently approaching the unsuspecting protagonists from behind, it looks too fake. In dark lighting, however, the creatures eyes glow a cold, lifeless yellow, and the makeup on it when its used practically looks amazing.

I think where this film falters most is the liberties it takes with its world. Up until this point, the franchise has rooted itself in reality well with its stories and has also taken fantastical liberties with subtlety and nuance. While this occurrence did technically occur to some degrees, and while the abbey really was haunted, there is a noticeable stretch. They set this character up in another film across the world. I think the writing connecting the films is bordering on a bit dumb here, and they introduce an extremely fantastical MacGuffin to win the final fight with in a really cheesy way.

Regardless, this film is a good watch, and it managed to surprise me by adding some really fresh ideas from well-worn territory.

My Rating: 3/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Facebook

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Zach Helms

Zach Helms

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