Directed by Corin Hardy
Fear State: High (2/5 Skulls) **
Last night I began to wonder where horror was headed. Not in this movie. There was no fear in The Nun last night. That's not fair. The beginning was strong and promising. Then it fizzled quickly. I'll get to that in a moment. But, I believe it's time to discuss where the horror genre is headed. The Conjuring (2013), first installment of this franchise, seemed to find the formula that worked for the best scare. When we were introduced to the Perron family; their blue collar every man life, two parents, five children and a dog it allowed the audience to identify with the characters. Their economic woes speak to the current financial tug many have been feeling in their purse strings. It set the tone for the audience to see themselves moving their family to a new/old home trying to make life better during the economic crisis that's plagued America for the last couple decades. When your audience can internalize the predicament of your characters once the threat is introduced the scare sells itself.
The moment those doe eyed girls cry their eyeballs out over the invisible threat behind their bedroom door saying it "wants to kill my family" the audience felt that. I FELT THAT. That's what made The Conjuring (2013) so effective. The Nun dismissed the character building opportunities completely. The elements of back story for both main characters Father Burke and Sister Irene are sprinkled in as filler information. It would’ve been much more effective to dabble into their past more. The opportunity to dive deeper into the relationship Father Burke had the boy that haunted him throughout the movie due to his failed exorcism was completely missed. Sister Irene merely has a conversation about her ability to have visions the first being from childhood. Afterward when she experiences her visions it’s a bit cheesy and less believable. The show not tell factor of this movie was lost. AND IT WAS A MOVIE! The two characters are sent to the abbey to determine if the grounds are still holy after a nun commits suicide. They elicit the help of a guide name “Frenchie” who discovered the nun’s hanging remains. He had been transporting supplies to the nuns although he hadn’t ever seen one. Which makes sense they wouldn’t want contact with a man. I will give the creators that this tidbit was creepy. If you do decide to include this film in your weekend pay attention to Frenchie’s character. He’s important. Once the pair are dropped off at the abbey all “fake hell” breaks loose.
The Nun depends on cheap outdated scares like hands grabbing through walls, over-the-shoulder bumps to in your face shots and most of those scenes were so conveniently set it became almost laughable. The characters were not smart chasing after ghosts into long ominous hallways. “Hello?” “Who’s there?” I did enjoy a scene that involved a lot nuns praying together. The reveal of that spook was slightly hair raising regardless of how much I saw it coming. It’s important to understand our millennials are wicked smart and desensitized to basic bumps in the night. Please don’t let the box office numbers lead you astray. It’s time for The Conjuring franchise to give this brand a rest. It’s dead. Please bury it and don’t ring the bell connected to the headstone protesting that it’s still alive. Just rest in peace.