Cinematic Releases: Holy Horror: The Nun (2018) Reviewed

From the people behind The Conjuring series comes another prequel/spin-off that weaves an atmospheric horror yarn that nearly lives up to its namesake. Taking the current trend of exorcism films in a brand new direction that finally feels fresh again, The Nun expands on what we know with a plot about the supernatural and way more unholy evil than we've seen before from this property. 

At the onset, we're given just enough back story for our two main characters as they travel to visit a Romanian convent that's been overrun by a demonic presence. Somewhere between the first third and the final act, The Nun loses some of its luster, but overall, it's another easily accessible fright-mare for casual theater goers and fans of James Wan and his team. With Corin Hardy (The Hallow) at the helm, audiences are treated to an onslaught of darkened religious imagery, foggy rooms, mild gore, and a setup that helps build a deeper mythology for the franchise. 

Maybe if I read my bible, things won't be so scary. 

Capturing the prequel tale of the evil nun that haunted The Conjuring 2Demi├ín Bichir and Taissa Farmiga take over as the main players in a story that's loaded with jump scares, eerie corridors, and gothic elements that are cautiously reminiscent of an earlier time at the cinema. Once again going for limited computer generation and visuals that at least feel more practical, The Nun reminisces on a time when horror movies were more about what's hiding in the dark than they were about showing every little detail. If anything, this fifth entry in the ongoing series continues to expand on a modern folklore that still sells tickets while making the hairs on our arms stand on end. 

Using Bichir's obvious mega-talent for creating textured characters, The Nun automatically has a solid foundation that's rooted in his flawed church outlier, Father Burke. Adding in Farmiga's skills at demanding attention at all times, even when she's so very soft spoken, we're reminded of her earlier roles and how she was such an integral part of the first season of American Horror Story. Like a nostalgia trip back to the '70s or '80s, most of the film is extremely entertaining for those of us that love old school genre pieces. It's not until the final moments that the structure of the movie fails to support its own foundation. 

She's behind me, isn't she?

Opting for a simplistic conclusion that's both super obvious and tediously lazy, there was so much more that could have been done here. If they had added an additional 15-20 minutes  to allow more space for a proper ending instead of going for the typical 'big bad' battle, The Nun could have been on that same level as both tales of the Warrens and Annabelle: Creation. It's definitely a must see for fans of the entire saga, but the last twenty minutes is too familiar and easy.