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Cohesion and Shock Fall Short in “The Nun”

Illustration by Kiran Aranha

All too often modern horror movies are filled with unoriginal ideas and jump scares that would be ineffective without the music. Sometimes a movie breaks this trend with subversions on the typical jumpscare, as with The Conjuring. Due to its success it spawned a sequel and a spin off prequel series. Now The Nun furthers this franchise. This movie fails to live up to the hype that spawned after a terrifying series of trailers. It lacks sufficient scares and a comprehensible plot.

The majority of the movie was fine. It was not in any form unique, but it wasn’t bad. The atmosphere was decently creepy, and there were even a few good set pieces. Taissa Farmiga, who played Sister Irene, was the standout of the movie. She brought a sense of naivety to the role which helped ground the movie around her character, acting as a vessel for the audience.

The early parts of the film stood out the most, even with the cliche dialogue and premise. It was actually scary, building up a sense of anticipation and following through with some effective jump scares. The movie first faltered when it started to recycle scares. After a while, they were all the same, a nun in the background that disappears right before somebody gets grabbed. Occasionally, the visuals would change and the scare would be executed by a creepy child, but the movie even reused that too many times. Still, the film was just average up until the third act. That’s when the script went off the deep end.

Frenchie, played by Jonas Bloquet, was envisioned as a hero with lots of the attempted humor. Instead, his jokes felt out of place in this horror movie, bringing the audience out of the world that was already established. Even his heroic lines felt completely different than any of the other dialogue in the film. On top of the bad writing, his character served to confuse the audience and break the internal logic of the film. Just because the movie needed a solution to a problem, Frenchie was suddenly able to stop the villain for brief amounts of time when it had been unstoppable the rest of the movie. Serving as nothing more than a “Deus ex machina” to tie the film together

Around the time Frenchie was reintroduced to the plot, the writers needed to create as many set pieces and twists as possible, but none of them were interesting or creative. Most of them actually made the movie more confusing, so audiences were left with questions that even the filmmakers hadn’t thought through. Characters just know things without explanation, while the villain often makes choices that aren’t coherent with the rest of the film.

The final fight filled the screen with as many creepy things as it could, but it seemed like a sad attempt to win back the audience’s favor. Finally, at the end, an explicit connection to the rest of The Conjuring’s universe was shoehorned in, but felt extremely out of place.

The Nun has a generic enough concept that had a lot of potential for experimentation, but fell short of the high expectations. The only people who may actually like this movie are fans of the rest of The Conjuring series, but it’s still not worth paying the money to see it in theaters. It’s more of a watch at home and make fun of it with friends type of movie than a serious horror film.