08th Sep2018

‘The Nun’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Charlotte Hope, Sandra Teles, August Maturo, Jack Falk, Lynnette Gaza, Ani Sava, Michael Smiley | Written by Gary Dauberman | Directed by Corin Hardy


Corin Hardy’s The Nun is the latest chapter in the ever-expanding and highly successful horror universe in that of ‘The Conjuring.’

The character of the Nun, or Valak, was first explored in James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 back in 2016. Initially, a simple CGI villain was retconned in post-production and reshoots by Wan himself were conducted to give the villain a far more evil entity and in its place birthed the Nun. A highly lucrative and incredibly foreseeing addition which came to be a highly sought after and rich commodity within the horror community, leading Warner Bros to explore the roots of Valak in its own inevitable spin-off and two years later here we are with the highly anticipated final product.

The end result? A mixed bag of what’s essentially a terrifying and haunting picture produced with horrific delight that unfortunately doesn’t pack the sufficient horror content, and with a lacking basis of character. A missing link in the quintessential grounding of what makes this universe tick with effective horror prowess.

Corin Hardy’s turn in the director’s chair is no misfire. His direction and vision are realised with a truly terrifying conviction. His inspirations and homages ranging from 1970’s Hammer horror, with snippets of Vincent Price thrown in for good measure, are wonderfully served up in moments of antagonizing fear and gothic production design that puts Tim Burton to shame. The scares, thankfully, take time to build and deliver with a sheer brutal conviction. The scene blocking and space used in each and every shot is incredibly bold. The tension and atmosphere, coinciding with expertly crafted sound design put forth moments of panic and fright not felt in a mainstream horror property since perhaps the last incarnation of this very franchise itself, merely a year previous in Annabelle Creation.

Taissa Farmiga cements herself in horror royalty as one of the most compelling scream queens on screen working today. Managing to stay clear from the shoes filled by her real-life sister Vera Farmiga, famed for her role as Lorraine Warren in the central Conjuring films, Taissa creates a path carved on her own  – both compelling and engaging –  in moments of peril and emotional conviction, albeit dashed by a poor script that can’t seem to find a clear intention, or heading for what or who she’s really meant to be and what role she’s defined as, in the grand scheme of things.

It is, in general, the lack of what is essentially a story that hinders The Nun from being great and rlegates it to simply be defined unremarkably and plainly as just “good”. The lack of depth here and the direction of the story is the strangest and most problematic. Especially considering the sheer amount of lore, mythology and mysticism surrounding the events throughout the film. The story given is lacking on all fronts of Who? What? and Why? Not in a contextual matter but merely on filmmaking grounds. Nothing is ever answered, nor left open. A strange middle ground is where Hardy’s film falls upon, even with what’s meant to be a heavy nod in final few moments leaves an anti-climatic and underwhelming final stinger in audiences laps, that ends before you manage to blink.

The Nun is in UK cinemas now.


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