I’ve enjoyed the original “Conjuring” movie in 2013, but ever since, there hasn’t been a single spin-off or prequel to be better. Not the “Annabelle” movies nor the latest prequel “The Nun.” They’re not terrible movies, because they have some fine acting and impressive sets and costumes; they’re just routine. No matter what the trailers say (“The Darkest Chapter in the Conjuring Universe”), it’s still the same old jump-scares, and lackluster tone.
The movie takes place in 1952 at the Carta Monastery in Romania where a young nun commits suicide (a terrible sin), because of a demon nun (Bonnie Aarons). Then, Father Burke (Demian Bichir) is summoned by the Vatican to investigate the death. He recruits two characters for help: a soon-to-be nun named Irene (Taissa Farmiga, the younger sister of Vera), who has yet to take her vows, and a French-Canadian farmer named Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), who has found the nun’s carcass.
During their stay in Romania, all Hell breaks lose. Burke and Irene confess their troubles. Burke tried and failed to save a boy during an exorcism, while Irene remembers seeing a vision (Mary Points the Way). And Frenchie comes face-to-face with the nun’s ghost. It’s not just her, but the devil nun comes in the picture.
“The Nun” works in its acting and production values, but fails to be lively or thrilling. There’s a history lesson in the monastery, but there are no scares or interests. It involves the Blood of Christ protecting our world from the demons, and its payoff comes at the end, obviously.
As always, you get jump-scares, but I’m a professional at covering my ears, so I wasn’t scared. The demon make-up is amazing, and so are the special effects, which help bring them to life, but it still means nothing. And out of every production values in the movie, the best would be the sets. They look great with the graveyards, churches, and water.
The acting here is charming, thanks to Bichir, Farmiga, and Bloquet. They manage to find their ways out of horrifying situations, and they’re written with the kind of tone and ambition they deserve. If only they were part of a fresh and original script.
I don’t recommend “The Nun,” given my lack of enthusiasm, but why am I stopping you from seeing it? You’re horror moths (refer back to my review of “A Quiet Place”); you have to go. And then more prequels, spin-offs, and sequels will emerge.