The Nun

The Nun is the latest film in the Conjuring Universe, fleshing out the character of Valak, the Nun, who first appeared in the Conjuring 2.
The plot of the film is a Valak origin story, set in a Romanian convent during the 1950’s. Following Sister Irene, (Taissa Farmiga), Father Burke, (Demian Bichir), and Frenchie, (Jonas Bloquet), as they investigate a suicide at the convent; which is much more than it appears.
The Nun is not a horror film at least I didn’t think it was, yes it does have jump scares, more on that later, but on the whole, it felt akin to a Gothic adventure film, not too far from the likes of Crimson Peak. The reason for this is the horror the film presents.
The jump scares, though well done, are predictable, so the film is left to rely on its atmosphere; which is not constantly menacing, like many other horror films are, instead it is gothic in it’s purest form. The non-horror nature of this film is a hard thing to describe; the closest parallel I can draw is to the Hugh Jackman staring Van Helsing film, yes there are horror elements, but it is an adventure film first and foremost.
Why the film chose to structure itself like this is anyone’s guess, but evidence for it comes from the protagonist’s quest to find the blood of Jesus, even some of the shots in the film are more in line with the Brother Grimm as opposed to something like Insidious.
That said, I liked the atmosphere and, the film itself.
The actors themselves do their best with the material they have, Farmiga, in particular, is very good. However, despite this, they are all underdeveloped, outside of the role they play in the narrative; which is a shame as they could have been so much more. Frenchie, in particular, proves my earlier point, he is the comedy relief of the film. Without him, the film would be a lot darker, a lot more like a traditional horror film, but his oneliners and, demon zombie killing shotgun prowess make the tone of the film similar to something like last year’s the Mummy, neither wholly action or horror.
To conclude if you like jump scares this film won’t let you down. However, if you like well-crafted horror films it will. With a tone similar to that of the Dark Universe this film is more gothic action adventure than horror. A strange film in many ways, but crucially not a bad one.
Reviewed by Luke.

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