“The Nun”

A test of evil and patience


Following weeks of notable advertisements and adding to the ever-growing “Conjuring” universe, “The Nun” takes the viewer back to 1953. A nun housed in a Romanian abbey has been discovered hanging from the steps. Word reaches the Vatican, and a priest and nun-in- training are sent to investigate on behalf of the Church. Upon arrival, they discover that Valak, the demon introduced in a previous film, has been awakened.

Director Corin Hardy has found a way to distinguish “The Nun” from other films in this series with its gothic take. The abbey is a massive set piece full of crosses, old statues, and dark tunnels, all of which are used for the film’s seemingly endless number of jump-scares. With Abel Korzeniowski’s ominous score and little light, the end result is a more overwhelming presence of evil that the holy have to deal with.

So, what’s the problem? At only an hour and a half, the story isn’t given as much of a chance to develop and reach its full potential. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman seems more focused on reaching the end of the journey rather than on how we get there. I have to admit — the ending is well done, and as a fan of the series, I understood it, but there’s only so many shrieks and late- night walks we can take before it’s time to move on. The evil nun is much more disturbing lurking in the background than in your face, snarling with special effects that don’t feel finished.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of disturbing imagery and tension to put this towards the top of the “Conjuring” films.  These films aren’t known for their blood and gore, but there are a few graphic scenes in “The Nun” that don’t feel excessive. Its muddled script aside, I still found it engaging.  Having a fresh new location and a few solid performances gives it a leg up; it’s just not the strongest leg we’ve seen.


For more movie reviews, follow Davis on Letterboxd @dwoodwardy.