Travelling over hill and dale with a thirst for knowledge, the nun, having engaged with worldly wise soothsayers, finally reached the top of the hill where she lived for many years. Her reputation for sage words was known far and wide and despite many trying to attain such knowledge all failed and though they did not know her name, nor her theirs, she was known as Nun the Wiser. In this clearly contrived story (‘Too right. You’re fired!’ – Ed) it’s a shame that the makers of horror spin off The Nun are also Nun the wiser. Horror director James Wan came up with the pasty faced wimple wearer in The Conjuring 2 to huge acclaim and though the character was only briefly in the film her appearance that Wan conjured up (sorry) were ruthlessly and chillingly effective.
Unfortunately he has not returned for the spin off as he’s busy on the forthcoming Aquaman, so The Nun, as seems to be the tradition is an origin film set in 1952 at a Romanian nunnery where they have all wound up dead with one of them hanging herself rather than fall pray …um…prey to the evil Nun (Bonnie Aarons – who seems to have needed little make up if her publicity photo is anything to go by) who has been locked away and breaks free when they unfathomably decide to pay her a visit. It’s one of several plot holes in Gary Dauberman’s screenplay which in fairness is based on a story by Wan himself. It’s one of several plot points that doesn’t lend itself to any scrutiny which continues when the church decides to send a priest (Demian Bicchir) with a novice nun (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate the suicide.
The Nun is ultimately a series of set pieces that don’t always fulfill their potential for full on frights. For an origin film the title character is not in the film as much as you might hope with her actual origin already established and that she is already existing when the films story begins so the film focuses far more on the novice nun and the priest trying to find out what is going on. Quite why they don’t call for back up when they find what they’re up against is another curiosity.
Director Corin Hardy, previous film The Hallow showed promise, but it is not developed here with only the occasionally effective scare which is generated more from the Nun’s appearance and the Gregorian chants on the films score. However what The Nun does show is just how good James Wan was at delivering innovative and well constructed scares rather than the conventional horror shocks that Hardy has here.
As there is now a Conjuring universe with an Annabelle franchise now established it may not be quite so certain with this film which is Nun the better without Wan at the helm.
Here’s the trailer for The Nun…….