Another cliche, disappointing horror movie that trades genuine terror for cheap jump scares.
Despite having the highest grossing opening weekend of the franchise, pulling in an impressive $53.5 million, the movie has received the lowest rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a dismal 27%. Is this another case of elite criticism distancing itself from the public opinion? Perhaps. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to side with the critics on this one as we found The Nun extremely disappointing.
It’s not that we had hopes for the fifth installment of the franchise, it’s just that the nun was probably the scariest element of The Conjuring 2 and the news of her landing her own standalone movie was news that we could get behind. Creating a prequel was not a horrible idea but the execution, on the other hand, was disastrous.
The first mistake was being overambitious with the film’s overlap with the rest of the franchise. Including a short clip of Annabelle at the end of The Conjuring was palatable but the frequent overlap with the Annabelle movies in this instance was poorly done. The meta-flashbacks were jarring and unnecessary and added little to the reception of the feature.
The plot itself was also cliche and uncreative. The movie repeats the franchise’s insistence that the films are based on true stories, which is still dull and unbelievable. Having a trainee nun as the heroine was an interesting move, considering that the nuns are usually the first to get killed or possessed in most Catholic horror movies. On the other hand, the nun in the title is, in fact, a villain dressed up as a scary nun in an attempt to mock the church.
Yes, there were some good jumps scares but like many blockbuster horror movies, one of The Nun’s fundamental downfalls is the way it relies too heavily on jump scares rather than focusing on skilfully building up suspense.
In terms of the movie’s positives, the setting was well crafted. The Romanian countryside and the antiquated architecture is creepy and effective. If you take out the acting, the cliche writing and the predictably of the prequel, it might have been just above mediocre. Even better, cut out 1 hour and 30 minutes of running time and they might really have something.