Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer
Sept. 6, 2018, Warner Brothers released the latest installment of the Conjuring Series. So get ready, because “The Nun” is here for your soul.
When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
The nun was a character in the “Conjuring 2” and “Annabelle: Creation.” Though she was only briefly mentioned and is technically uncredited in “Annabelle: Creation,” the nun’s popularity led to her own movie. This was the same situation that led to the Annabelle spin-off. Due to the huge following of the Conjuring franchise, everybody was excited to hear about the nun’s origins.
With the tagline, “Pray for Forgiveness,” and a teaser ad that generated so much controversy that it was removed from YouTube for violating the platform’s Shocking Content policy, people expected to be scared. At 96 minutes, “The Nun” moved along at an enjoyable pace, using each scene to build tension. The atmosphere of the movie was hauntingly eerie, the characters were all charming in a simple way and there were even brief moments of humor. However, as one Rotten Tomatoes user writes, “‘The Nun’ uses a mechanical approach toward instilling fear rather than a more profound understanding of terror.”
While the trailer was dark and ominous, the movie was filled with clichés and the effects felt silly at times, causing the movie to water down the fear they were trying to create. The plot was ordinary and seemed to drag on to the point that I found myself sometimes wondering, after watching the actors be scared for the 80th time, “Why are they here again? What’s their objective?”
“The Nun” was simmering with tension and the horror was bearable, which can be good or bad depending on your level of tolerance. It almost felt like they tried too hard to scare the audience, constantly throwing cheap tricks at you such as hands bursting through doors or crosses magically turn upside down. “True horror requires anticipation to work properly,” Rolling Stone magazine stated in their review.
Using religious buildings and figures has long been a staple of horror movies, and it seems this movie couldn’t break out of the mold, even though it had an advantage. “The Nun” was based on a true encounter, edited with Hollywood flair. Yet when reading about what actually happened, the original story might have been more interesting. Overall this movie was flawed but still fun.
“The Nun” is the highest grossing film in the franchise, yet the reviews seem mixed. It’s not going to become a cult favorite and to some “The Nun” may not even rattle your boots. We can all agree that there is something eerie about this movie—how the nun lingers in the background with her chalk-like skin and supernatural power that can corrupt even the innocent. Your soul will feel slightly tainted when you finish the movie, as if her presence is still with you.