Set in 1952 Romania, a Catholic priest named Father Burke is sent to investigate the apparent suicide of a nun outside the front steps of a local monastery, accompanied by nun-in-training Sister Irene and a local villager, nicknamed “Frenchie”. The trio seek to find answers from the other nuns living at the monastery, but that may turn out to be a more difficult task than anticipated. So, how well does this standalone horror fare among the others of ‘The Conjuring’ franchise? I’m sad to say that, for me, it places dead last. If you want to be surprised by the movie, then I must warn you there will be spoilers ahead.
Before I begin, I want to say that ‘The Conjuring 2’ remains my favorite film of the franchise, and a big part of that is due to “the nun” character. However, where that movie succeeded in using tension and suspense to scare, this movie fails by instead relying on cheap-looking CGI and nonsensical noises. I suppose the filmmakers did this in an effort to distance themselves from ‘The Conjuring 2’ and create their own idea of how the nun should be scary, but the end result is messy and frankly boring. If I wasn’t sick of that bone-breaking, cracking sound that first became prevalent in ‘Annabelle: Creation’, I am now. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that anytime anything moves in the shadows it is accompanied by that stupid, overused noise. It’s not creepy anymore. Stop using it. You have ruined that sound for me.
I mentioned the cheap-looking CGI. My first warning of this was when I saw one of the trailers for ‘The Nun’ – the one where she is behind Father Burke with her hand on his face, screaming. The trailer only provided a brief glimpse but it was enough to get me worried. At the time, I figured it would be fixed before the final print of the film was released, but I was wrong. Apparently the filmmakers thought the CGI was up to their standards and didn’t change them at all. The end result is a terrible, video game-like representation of the scariest character in ‘The Conjuring 2’. Someone must have complained, because there are actually very few scenes of the title character. Instead, we get ghosts, zombies and skeletons, making the atmosphere feel more like a house of horrors than anything else. It almost feels like they were trying to distract us from how awful The Nun looked with these other, random monsters.
In the end, The Nun is apparently destroyed by Sister Irene when she spits the blood of Christ into The Nun’s mouth, creating a vortex that sucks the evil demon down into it, but not before imprinting some of itself onto Frenchie (who is then revealed to be the subject of the presentation by Ed and Lorrainne Warren during the classroom scene in the original ‘Conjuring’ movie). While this final scene is a nice way of tying everything together to the franchise, it doesn’t excuse the poor quality of the movie itself. In between the scenes of poor CGI and random ghouls and ghosts, I found myself bored. The film’s lack of ability to build or sustain suspense hurts its momentum and leaves you disappointed. Something I didn’t expect from a movie that was marketed to be intensely scary.
This movie is…
Don’t waste your time.
Cheers and goodnight.