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The Nun Movie Review

The Nun (2018) movie poster The Nun

Theatrical Release: September 7, 2018 / Running Time: 96 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Corin Hardy / Writers: Gary Dauberman (screenplay & story), James Wan (story)

Cast: Demián Bichir (Father Albert Burke), Taissa Farmiga (Sister Irene), Jonas Bloquet (Frenchie/Maurice), Bonnie Aarons (The Nun), Ingrid Bisu (Sister Oana), Charlotte Hope (Sister Victoria), Sandra Teles (Sister Ruth), Maria Obretin (Sister Abigail), August Maturo (Daniel), Jack Falk (Daniel), Lynette Gaza (Mother Superior), Ani Sava (Sister Jessica), Michael Smiley (Bishop Pasquale), Gabrielle Downey (The Abbess), David Horovitch (Cardinal Conroy), Tudor Munteanu (Grigore)


If you haven't seen those that have come before it, you may be asking yourself for much of this movie, "Who is the titular character of The Nun?" Is it the one whose prologue suicide drives the narrative? Is it our protagonist Sister Irene (Taisa Farmiga), a young, open-minded teacher who has not yet taken her vows? About an hour in,
you should realize it is neither of them but a nun who looks like Marilyn Manson and is not so much of this world. That threat was first introduced for scares in The Conjuring 2, the 2016 sequel to the 2013 horror hit.

The two spooky, feel-good movies based on true stories have swiftly and subtly been expanded into something of a cinematic universe for New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures. The Nun represents the fifth entry into the franchise, following the two Conjuring movies and the two Annabelle ones centering on a possessed doll. These movies cost the studio little and make a lot; an untitled sixth entry to the universe is scheduled to open next July. The Nun demands no prerequisites, but rewards those with some familiarity, most overtly in its clever closing scene.

This film evidently takes place in the late 1940s and that pre-title suicide is more of a plot motivator than anything else. The Vatican calls in Father Albert Burke (Demián Bichir), a self-described miracle hunter they use to investigate phenomenon involving the Church. Why this seemingly isolated event is being treated as such is something of a mystery to us and to Irene, whom Burke teams up with on account of her past experiences with visions. The two get a ride to the Romanian abbey where the death occurred from Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a flirtatious French-Canadian delivery boy.

Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) gets some unexpected accompaniment in "The Nun."

At the abbey, where the deceased's blood has not dried weeks after her hanging, Burke and Irene get acclimated with such things as mother superiors who sit in the shadows, perpetual prayer designed to ward off evil, and silence from sunset to sunrise. There certainly appears to be an ominous presence lurking at the facility and it isn't long before Father Burke finds himself buried alive.

How this episode ties together with Burke's past visions and other dark forces remain to be seen. There is no true story The Nun can even purport to be based on, which frees up screenwriter Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, It), who shares story credit with Conjuring 1 & 2 director James Wan, to do as his pleases.
He does, relying on a touch of Catholicism and exorcism practices, several jump scares, and plenty of unsettling imagery involving discomforting, suddenly-appearing, bone-cracking old nuns.

The Nun is distinct from the other films from this universe and from other horror films and franchises. It engages, even from a ghastly front row corner seat, on the strength of its three principal characters, who are appealing and sympathetic while lending three different perspectives to the action. The story is a bit muddled, but it is horror cinema's primary goal to disarm, not to tell a story in a perfectly clear and coherent manner. Maybe it's partly the slight weather change and the arrival of the fall movie season, but I found The Nun reasonably substantive and unusually likable for a plainly commercial genre effort.

Related Reviews:
The Conjuring 2The ConjuringAnnabelle
Now in Theaters: SearchingKinCrazy Rich AsiansThe Meg
The Last ExorcismThe Devil InsideThe RiteSister Act & Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
Taissa Farmiga: At MiddletonRules Don't ApplyThe Bling Ring | Demian Bichir: The Hateful Eight | Jonas Bloquet: Elle

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Reviewed September 7, 2018.

Text copyright 2018 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, Safran Company
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