James Wan’s new Conjuring Universe film, brings back Gothic horror with a vengeance, and I will admit to you right now, it scared the SHIT out of me. And, I shit you not, that is no easy feat. The Nun is the first horror film I have seen in years, nay, DECADES, that I can say, scared the ever loving shit out of me. yes, former badass military vet got scared like a little girl by a damned Nun. It got so intense, again I am not kidding, that I had to fight the urge to close my eyes at least three times during the film. I felt like a helpless little kid again, and damn it, I love that!
Now, admittedly, I went into seeing the Nun with an already established healthy fear of nuns; I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school for a bit, and while there, I became terrified of nuns. It was not a great experience for me. So, it was quite laborious to go into an empty theater this morning, to see the first showing of the day. When I went in, they hadn’t turned on the lights, so I had to use my flashlight on my phone to find my seat, which was dead middle of the theater. Oh, and then suddenly there was this employee/manager who abruptly appeared, all Vincent Price like, turning on the lights at the same instant, which i will tell you startled the FUCK out of me… I jumped in my seat as his voice sliced through the silence, “I’m sorry, we forgot to get the lights.” I clutched my chest and responded, “Christ! I hope you know CPR.” He laughed and wished me a good viewing of the film, and he exited as suddenly as he had entered. WTF?! RIGHT? I was totally on edge, quite terrified, and the film hadn’t even started yet!
Then the film began, and my ass was clenched tightly in that seat for the entire duration. The film really doesn’t back off of the tension, and I again am not kidding. This is one intense film. But it is also a very simple story. I think it is the most direct and least complicated Conjuring Universe film yet. It masterfully out Hammers, Hammer Films. The Nun is truly a wonderful return to Gothic Horror.
The original story by James Wan is a good one, and it was very well written by Gary Dauberman, and Corin Hardy did a Man’s Job of directing this film. Seriously, he had me by the throat from start to finish. I loved the cinematography…a lot of tight shots, and the scenes were lit perfectly to really increase the tension. You could see, but enough was obscured that left you feeling off balance, teetering on the edge of “shit’s about to go nuts!” The locations and films sets were amazing. Honestly, there was nothing I disliked in this film.
We get a great backstory to the demonic presence from the other Conjuring films. We are given two very well developed main characters, Father Burke and Sister Irene, whom we deeply care about very quickly, thanks to the writing and the performances. The most consistent thing in this film that really kept me glued to the screen was the constant tension built by a near perfect marriage between cinematic atmosphere, acting, direction, writing, and score. The score, if anything, I would call the weakest, because it’s not memorable. However, that’s not true, because the score solidly held the tension in place. I mean, WOW! It really had my heart racing in one specific scene in the graveyard, which there were a few there, but one scene in particular was the most terrifying.
There was this moment that would normally make me go, “Oh, come on?! Why are they separating?! That is so stupid! No one would do that!” But, because we understand that this place, and this demon, were causing them to see shit and confuse them, their getting separated made sense..the demon and its evil made it happen, and our heroes were helpless to its effects. I loved that.
Again, one of the single most outstanding things in this film was the acting. Just top notch. In fact, one of the best casting choices that I love was that they got Vira Farmiga’s little sister Taissa Farmiga, to play the young nun, Sister Irene. I cannot but wonder why, as there is no direct connection made between Sister Irene and Vera’s character of Lorraine Warren. But, it makes you wonder, if they are related or are in fact the same person. I mean, we all know Lorraine was a devout Catholic. Right? I must admit that I would love the idea that Sister Irene is either a younger Lorraine, or a member of her family with the same or similar clairvoyance. BTW, nuns take on a different name when they take their oath. What wan is doing here is really good World Building. I consider James Wan the only master of horror going today. He is the true heir to John Carpenter’s reign as King of Horror that he held from the 70’s through to the early 90’s.
In summation, I loved this film, and even though it is not perfect, and maybe isn’t the best film of the summer, it IS the best horror film of the summer, and it IS a damned near perfect film, and unlike 99% of all other horror films, The Nun delivers what it promises, and actually managed to actually scare me, which is no easy feat. For that, The Nun gets 9 out of 10 Potatoes