Corin Hardy’s “The Nun” introduces a great concept but a bad execution. The film takes place in Romania, in 1952, and is about a young nun, Sister Irene, who is told to go to an abbey by a Vatican with a priest, Father Burke, to examine the death of another nun that had committed suicide two weeks earlier.
While investigating the abbey, paranormal activities start to occur. This leads to Sister Irene and Father Burke soon discovering that the deceased nun committed suicide as a sacrifice to prevent herself from being possessed by a demon dressed as a nun, Valak.
Taissa Farmiga plays Sister Irene, Bonnie Aarons plays Valak, and Demián Bichir plays Father Burke gave terrific performances. Taissa Farmiga’s strong female lead kept the viewer on the edge of their seat. Each scene with her brought the audience a deeper understanding of the fear within her eyes and the trembles within her body posture. She had us believe that she was in actual danger and didn’t know if she would survive the night.
Bonnie Aarons’ performance as Valak was the scariest thing about this movie. She looked and moved as an actual demon that would terrify anyone. Aarons convinced us that Valak was real, and she was wanting a new host to possess.
As for Demián Bichir, he was portrayed as being a believable priest of the church. He seemed like a religious man that would put his faith above all his fears. As well as the worthy performance of the main cast, the opening of the movie was amazing with the anticipation created.
The nun that committed suicide was cornered by Valak. She had to decide whether to be imprisoned within her own body by a demon or kill herself and be doomed for an eternity in Hell for committing suicide. She had to decide fast what her decision was going to be before Valak made it for her.
As the nun makes her decision, she wraps the premade noose around her neck and leaps out of the abbey to end her life. This scene worked because it created a build of fear with the scene, and not just throw a jump scare at you. Also, we want to know what was going on and why we were just thrown into the death of a nun, and did that have anything to do with the title?
Another thing that worked well for the film was the twist ending of the other nuns in the monastery. It was hinted throughout the movie, and the foreshadowing paid off at the end. As it was revealed that the nun from the beginning was the last survivor of the monastery and that all the nuns that Sister Irene had been surrounded by were a part of Valak, it left the audience speechless.
With all the good ideas in the movie, it had its flaws that affected the success of the movie. “The Nun” is full of expected jump scares that failed at the purpose to scare. In addition to the jump scares being expected there was a multitude of them. In the entire movie, there was at least 22 jump scares, and each one was just as unsuccessful as the one prior.
Also, there is very little character development in the story. The only thing learned about Valak’s past was that he was once sealed before in the abbey during medieval times with the Blood of Christ, and that demon was released because of a bomb from WWII that hit the abbey.
This is all that is learned about Valak within the 96-minute runtime.
The same happens to Sister Irene. We only know that she is a new nun, and she has not been practicing long.
The character, Frenchie, had little character development. All we knew that he was not originally from Romania, but that he had moved there. We knew nothing about his past or how he ended up on a farm alone?
With the priest, he just randomly appears to Sister Irene saying that the church needs her to go with him, and she does. If that isn’t blind faith, then I don’t know what is. He only came to get her and travel to the abbey. There was no other information given about him.
“The Nun” lacks character development Characterization is needed in a movie like this because when you get past the jump scares, there is nothing left to care about. True horror cannot only be created by a jump scare; it will lead to being considered a one and done, meaning there will be no need to watch it again.