'The Nun' is far from a blessing

Bonnie Aarons and Taissa Farmiga in The Nun (2018)

Set in the “Conjuring” universe, producers James Wan and Peter Safran are trying to sell “the scariest movie yet” in the series. Horror fans should be excited to see their favorite demon Valak return in the prequel film, “The Nun,” from the record-setting horror flick, “The Conjuring 2.” However, the thrill may be short lived. 

From Corin Hardy, the director of “The Hallow,” the film explores an investigation with Father Burke, played by Demián Bichir, and novitiate Sister Irene, played by Taissa Farmiga, that takes them to a hell-house turned convent. These are all of the makings for an unholy fun time.

This film reveals Valak’s origins and shows how it makes its inevitable encounter with Ed and Lorraine Warren, the leading characters in “The Conjuring” universe. From the start, there are horrifying scenes with imagery to match.

The lighting, used to disorient both the main characters and the audience, adds to the chill factor exuded in the different rooms of the intricately carved out abbey in Romania. It’s effective at raising the hairs along the back of your neck and making the moment suspenseful.

There are a few great scenes in the second half of the movie. In the first half, there are attempts to set up the plot that will pay off in the end, but is unsuccessful. 

What “The Conjuring 2” and “Annabelle: Creation” did to effectively scare audiences was expand upon a simple plotline: a family is haunted by an unnatural being. The plot in this prequel was overly exaggerated to the point where it became boring and redundant.

The overuse of ambient noises such as whispers leading into a character having an interaction with an entity did not add a lot to the movie. With the surround sound of the movie theater, it sounds like certain noises are coming from behind you, which adds to the suspense the first time, but after the seventh time, it only adds to the growing predictability of the movie.  

A prominent downfall of the movie is how predictable it becomes. The Conjuring universe is known for continuously building tension through subtlety and leaving audiences unable to anticipate what’s going to happen next. In this particular movie, characters play into cliché horror movie decisions, turning this into a film that scares less and less.

Other downfalls of the movie include comedic relief and the overuse of jump scares. Jonas Bloquet’s character, Frenchie, provides comic relief every time he appears onscreen. The good side to Bloquet is that he saved the movie from being a complete waste of money because they are actually quite entertaining. On the other side, his actions hinder the build-up necessary for it to become an effective horror movie.

The acting in this movie is nothing noteworthy. The script has no real depth, so the actors has dull performances at best.

“The Nun” is a hodgepodge of mediocre horror movies you have seen before. 

The trailer is accurate in its portrayal of what the movie will be. If you enjoy a movie that has stereotypical characters going to investigate the scary noise and  jump scares you can spot coming from a mile away, then this is for you.

While it is a nice opening to the fall horror flicks in preparation for Halloween, this has none of the conventional trademarks of the top “Conjuring” films.

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