The iconic demon Valak the Defiler, otherwise known as “The Nun,” gets its own film, making it the fifth entry in “The Conjuring” universe created by James Wan.
Director Corin Hardy takes on the task of telling the chilling origin story of how the Nun came to be. After the success of the previous “Conjuring” movies and the “Annabelle” films, it seemed fate that the Nun would be next after her appearance in “The Conjuring 2.” The franchise has had its ups and downs in each film, the newest installment falling towards the latter.
Set in 1952, the Vatican sends Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate Sister Victoria’s (Charlotte Hope) suicide at the Carta Monastery in Romania. Accompanied by farming supplier Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), they set out to find out what happened and why Sister Victoria took her own life. They soon discover that something sinister plagues the Monastery.
For this being the second film that Hardy has directed, he does a good job at setting up an atmosphere of uneasiness which is key in a horror flick. The performances from Farmiga, Bichir and the rest of the cast are well done as there isn’t really a weak link among them. But this is where the praise ends as the film is mostly a drag until the third act.
It started off promising in the first five minutes, but then lost its speed. The runtime of 96 minutes felt like hours as it progressed. All the major scares of this movie were spoiled in the trailers and TV spots of the film which made it predictable. It also relied too heavily on jump scares which became overkill and missed the point of what made most of the previous films genuinely scary.
The third act of the film is when it started to pick up a little bit by showing off some creepy imagery, but it is quickly diffused when you reach the climax of the film. On how the climax is dissolved is one of the silliest moments of the film and ruins the tense atmosphere that was set up within the first five minutes of the movie.
If you’re looking for some scares, “The Nun” falls short and is only worth a rental at best. But it may get a better sequel like “Annabelle” did, so the only way to go is up.