I absolutely love The Conjuring franchise- while it may have its ups and downs, mainly being the bland first Annabelle installment, it’s almost always left me wanting more. Not this time however, as The Nun takes away all the complexity and anxiety that the previous films have brought and instead crams as much nonsense as possible into a 96 minute runtime. The film is outright insane, (not in proper way) and really brings the franchise down to a whole new level of low.
James Wan has always been the driving force behind the two main The Conjuring features and unfortunately his production credit doesn’t seem to have much input beyond just that: credit. Director Corin Hardy has crafted an absolute mess of a horror film, which should have been relatively predictable after his first feature, The Hallow, was critically bashed as well. Take everything you know and love about horror, and then remove those things from your expectations for this film, because while it nearly always surprises, it surprises with a hosh-posh of corny, haunted attraction-esque ideas, instead of creating something resembling the era of the Hammer films or even the style of the previous The Conjuring films.
There’s hardly a plot to discuss, as it appears it exists simply as a way to make the nun have a solo film in the franchise. Do they supply a backstory for the nun? Absolutely not. Instead the titular nun is just a haunting figure of the monastery. Her presence is almost as pointless as the inclusion of another zombie nun, a demonic spectre, and the ghosts of other nuns around the grounds. Spoilers were just mentioned, however it’s not an issue because the film is almost impossible to spoil. It has no story, no purpose, and instead just feels like a needless cash grab before getting to the third entry in the official The Conjuring trilogy.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
For the most part the acting is tolerable, with nothing really standing out in an extremely positive or an extremely negative way. Taissa Farmiga is underutilized in this feature, and her character doesn’t get fully realized as she resembles a younger Lorraine (played by her mother, Vera Farmiga). She isn’t the same character - instead she’s a brand new character that may or may not be actually related to the main character from The Conjuring. The comedic relief character named Frenchie brings a distracting presence to the film, as all his jokes fall flat. However, this seems to lie more with the script than the actor himself, although Jonas Bloquet doesn’t ever prove himself with the content provided. Demian Bichir suffers once again, with a decent performance set within a terrible film. He always seems to be trying his hardest with the material, but unfortunately the writers behind said material aren’t trying nearly as hard. Lastly, we must speak of the horror characters within: Daniel, a spectre that the priest accidentally killed while performing an exorcism. His presence is odd and overall random. Next, there are the nuns who seem to be trying to pray away the demonic titular nun. While I appreciate the performances given here, their presence, just like Daniel’s, is random and confuses the plot even more. Finally we get to the title villain, the Nun herself. Somehow the filmmakers managed to turn her into a joke with sharp teeth and eye-rolling appearances. Her time to terrify has sadly run out, as The Nun character was by far the most chilling in The Conjuring 2. Overall, this category is a complete waste that can be rambled on about forever.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I feel like I say this quite often, but... come on now, try harder. As generic as you can get is what we in fact receive. The jump scare noises that warn that something bad is about to happen are oddly off from where they need to be, even ruining the scare before anything even happens on screen. This is a weird mistake that should have been resolved in the editing process. The demonic undertone of the possessed is pretty general, as it’s what we’ve come to expect from horror movies as a whole, and has grown quite tiresome after so many years of the same voice (especially after Linda Blair’s performance in The Exorcist did it best).
I couldn’t force myself to hold back, so I had to dive into the title Nun’s appearance in the characters section. I really just had to make it clear that her appearance portrays itself as a joke in this film, especially when compared to Wan’s talented direction with the character in The Conjuring 2. The set design felt like a cheap haunted attraction, especially the random “creepy” things that kept consistently occurring all around. They didn’t make a lick of sense, but attempted to be successful with jumpscare after jumpscare, which proved to be a failure. The costume design is actually not bad- it’s not too complex, and as far as the nuns inside the church or the zombie/horror creatures that emerge throughout are concerned, the design of them is commendable (especially compared to the wretched appearance of the demonic nun).
If you’ve skipped to this category then please just understand one thing: The Nun is about as generic as you can get. Especially when compared to the amazing other installments in the series that have raised the bar higher and higher with each entry. My hopes were pretty high after seeing Annabelle: Creation, but as soon as the first trailer released my expectations flew out of the window. This is certainly not the movie I signed up for and is a complete waste of everyone's time. Please don’t seek this film out, just watch all the others instead. Hell, even watch the original Annabelle, as the second film makes even that failure into an okay film. It is certainly the worst entry in the universe so far. I hope that The Conjuring series continues for a long time to come, however, can we please just leave The Nun out of any future installments? Thanks.