There’s something to be said for a film that will keep me up — restlessly checking after every creak in my old apartment — even days after I’ve seen the fright flick.
The Nun is a film that scared me to my core. It operates much in the way its universe predecessors The Conjuring and Insidious captured the furiously beating, teeth-gritting imaginations of horror fans everywhere.
But what separates those films from The Nun is a finesse and showmanship that made those films a cut above the rest. There were interesting and important storylines, a method to the madness, and a perfect tone to those films.
With The Nun, it’s like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. One moment it’s providing high-level jump-scares and twisting the audience in knots.
The next, they’ve got a boring, insipid character named Frenchie shouting out one-liner jokes and cocking a shotgun like a low-rent Bruce Campbell.
When The Nun sticks to its atmospheric horror stylings — bolstered by cinematographer Maxime Alexandre — it’s a creepy, truly satisfying haunted castle film. Mix in some religion-based scares, and it covers a whole lot of bases.
But its actors — Demian Bichir and Jonas Bloquet especially — are nowhere near the talent Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga brought to The Conjuring.
The only saving grace is another Farmiga: Vera’s daughter Taissa, who does her best to hold the film up despite its many failings.
If you see The Nun, you will be scared. You will hide under the covers for days. But you’ll also not see anything you haven’t seen before. Trust me, there are plenty of films that have done this concept better.
Find one of those, and keep the doors to this creepy convent tale closed, because your time could be better spent.