Overall review: Decent Watch 3/5
First of all, let me say this. I love The Conjuring Series and cinematic universe. I love horror movies, and low key looked forward to this movie. Plus, it just hit here in South Korea last week.
A brief synopsis: A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
I went to go see this movie with my friend, the same one from my Mamma Mia 2 review. It was the exchange for me seeing that movie with her. Since she isn’t a fan of the horror genre, we had to get a daytime showing. Didn’t matter too much, the theater was packed. There were a couple of old ladies in from of us who left halfway through. They probably thought this was going to be a completely different movie. Seriously, the delivery guy sees a kid in the graveyard, and that is when the ladies upped and walked out. I couldn’t believe it.
What makes a great horror movie? The subtlety and finesse in crafting tension and horror without revealing much; the gradual buildup of horror through the unknown; having the audience know that something is out there and not revealing it immediately. The Nun does the exact opposite of all of this. After all, it is a spin off and a prequel to the Conjuring series (mainly the second one), so even the conclusion isn’t final.
I didn’t have high expectations (I never do when it comes to horror movies sadly), but I was still disappointed. I watched all the Conjuring and Annabelle spin-offs. For the most part I enjoyed most off them.
Considering the success of the first Conjuring, I always hoped that the next sequel/prequel builds on the strengths of the first, where tension and horror is built slowly and gradually, culminating in tense and horrific scenes and a climatic finish. Unfortunately with each new installment, I found that the same narrative and scare tropes are implemented, making the movie more predictable and mundane. Plus, the second one had some decently bad acting that stopped me from being sucked into the story. One word: biscuits.
Unfortunately The Nun takes this to a whole new comical level. How can such a thing go so wrong?! Creepy demon nun? Check! Old isolated abandoned castle? Check! Pseudo-religious lore to build on? Check! Romania? Check! All the ingredients to create a great horror flick. They ended up making a movie more tailored to a young adult/teenage fan-base, relying on cliche story-line, extremely dumb protagonists and never ending predictable jump scares. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good jump scare when used right, but this movie almost solely relies on them. Seriously.
The worst part of the movie, and where I think it went so wrong, is how it reveals everything way too much and way too early. Not only do you see the nun in the first 5 minutes and constantly jumping out every 10 minutes, you hear her screaming and attacking victims, repeatedly throughout the movie. By the time the third act takes place you already have seen all the scares and it becomes comical. The only redeeming thing I liked was towards the ending we find out the whole second act was the young nun having a vision of everything that went down. Even then, this reveal was a little too early. If they pushed it off for another five minutes, it would have had a little better payoff.
Overall it is an almost disappointing movie. It is still a decent watch if you are a fan of the series. It had a lot of hype. I even saw a booth for it a Seoul Comic Con.