The Nun

In Cinemas Now

Pray for forgiveness.

A priest is sent to Rome to investigate the mysterious death of a nun in this supernatural horror connected to The Conjuring universe.

When a young nun at a cloistered Romanian abbey takes her own life, a priest (Demián Bichir) and a novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun, as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Horror, Mystery

96mins

Rating: R16 Horror & deals with suicide

USA

Aaron-Yap2

Aaron Yap

flicks

In theory, taking the MCU approach to The Conjuring franchise sounds like a nifty, promising idea. The storied paranormal cases of the series’ real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren lend themselves easily to a shared horror-world. But as long as the ever-widening universe continues to dip into uninspired, schlocky stopgaps like The Nun—as opposed to a reasonably efficient entry like Annabelle: Creation—it’s harder to become enthused about it all.

This 1950s origin story, centred around Valak (Bonnie Aarons)—the demonic nun who first surfaced in The Conjuring 2—could use the robust narrative shepherding of a Feige-like geek-visionary. As it is, it reeks of dumped-to-Netflix mediocrity, with flimsy characters, clunky dialogue and run-of-the-mill mythology that don’t exactly provide one much of a tantalising hook to explore further creaky corners of this universe.

Demián Bichir plays a haunted exorcist (there’s no other kind, apparently) called in by the Vatican to investigate the suicide of a nun at a Romanian abbey. He enlists the assistance of novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, a sole, soulful bright spot) to figure if the grounds are holy or not (spoiler: it’s not).

Location-wise, The Nun is optimally placed. Towering exteriors, fog-shrouded surrounding forests and eerie catacombs—there’s some sepulchral, menacing atmosphere in the early going. But, unfortunately, the film is mostly lacklustre, a tedious attempt to graft the sombre, faith-interrogating religious horror of The Exorcist to the funhouse scare-ride of The Evil Dead. It doesn’t help that after repetitive exposure to Valak, I see less of the diabolical, sacrilegious force we’re meant to fear, and more of the Marilyn Manson-looking cosplay that’ll frequent Halloween parties to come.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

An efficient, unambitious, crowd-pleasing horror.

Hollywood Reporter

press

It's good clean fun nevertheless, and the set pieces expertly supply the tension-and-release satisfactions of the genre.

New York Times

press

Specters and hallucinations appear without consistent narrative logic. Characters veer off separately when teamwork might reduce brushes with demons or death.

Variety (USA)

press

There is rarely any sense that anyone involved with "The Nun" takes anything here too seriously, and audiences are advised to respond in kind.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

Some striking images aside, there's little to thrill or engage here...

TimeOut (New York)

press

There are creepy crypts aplenty and a graveyard with bell-equipped coffins just in case anyone gets buried alive (alas, the transgressive sexuality of the era's more extreme nunsploitation flicks is off the table).

Los Angeles Times

press

"The Nun," shot in murky pools of darkness that often leave you squinting at the screen, is a dispiriting reminder that franchising evil inevitably dissipates its impact.

Total Film (UK)

press

The Nun lacks the confidence to let the location and mood speak, let alone whisper for themselves.