“The Nun,” the latest installment in “The Conjuring” franchise, was touted as the horror film of the summer. While the film did not necessarily live up to some of the other films in the franchise, it delivered interesting characters, a somewhat cliché but still enjoyable story, and plenty of scares to go around.
The film, starring Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, and Jonas Bloquet, follows Blair’s Father Burke as he investigates the suicide of a nun at an abbey in the mountains of Romania. He brings Sister Irene, played by Farmiga, with him, as she is believed to have insight into what is happening at the abbey. They are helped by Maurice “Frenchie” Theriault, who found the body of the dead nun and believes that the abbey is cursed. When they arrive at the abbey, they quickly find that all is not well and that something truly dark is happening there.
The thing that made “The Nun” so scary was the atmosphere. The abbey is dark and the audience can almost feel the chill in the air. The film score is haunting in the right moments, while some of the scariest moments of the film are helped by having no music at all. Another strong point for the film is the cast. Farmiga has already established herself in horror through her roles in “American Horror Story,” and “The Nun” is more strong work for her. Bichir also delivers a strong performance as Father Burke, a man haunted by his past who tries his hardest to make things right in the present.
Unfortunately, the story for the film suffers from many of the clichés that audiences have come to expect from modern horror films. These clichés are oddly offset by the ways in which “The Nun” tips it’s hat to classic horror films through the use of visuals. Clunky dialogue and flat attempts at humor take the audience out of the story and fail to do anything to strengthen the story. The film also makes the mistake of revealing things too soon. What made the apparition of the nun so terrifying in “Conjuring 2” was that it was shrouded in darkness. This film ends up showing the audience the face of the nun in full detail, making it far less frightening.
“The Nun” is far from a perfect film, and certainly not the best in the franchise. But it is a solid, enjoyable film that connects well to the rest of the franchise, and brings together the stories by the time the credits roll.