In “The Nun,” director Corin Hardy brings us the “true” story of three people from 1952: Father Burke, Sister Irene and Frenchie.
The assemblance of our heroes and heroine is to investigate a Romanian abbey, which has fallen under the curse of a demon who takes on the form of a nun.
Hardy definitely improved on his last film, “The Hollow,” but “The Nun” had some major flaws that caused the viewer to disconnect from the story.
This disconnection began within the very first scene. The first act felt completely unnecessary as most themes about the characters and the world were completely forgotten by the time the second act began.
An example of this was shown in Taissa Farmiga’s character, Sister Irene. In the first act she is shown as rebellious and against the status quo. Questioning almost everything around her and standing independent from the hive-like mind of the Catholic church.
But when the second act begins, that entire part of her character was completely forgotten as she fell into the trap that many women in the horror realm fall into. Her character was diluted down to a reaction to jump scares.
Her actions in most of the film did not fall in line with the character that was introduced to us in the beginning. Near the end she had some shining moments, but mostly it felt as if attempts at character building in the first act were a sorry attempt at creating a unique female protagonist while not wanting to fully commit to it.
This sort of inconsistent displaying of characters only causes the viewer to not connect with the protagonists on a personal note. I was waiting to see if they would kill off one of the characters, just to see how they would handle the death of these very dry protagonists.
In addition to inconsistent character writing, cinematic choices in lighting and editing hurt the viewers ability to connect.
To preface that, there were some extremely stylized shots and lighting choices that made the film stand out. But they were few and far in between. The best shots in the film occur right next to the worst. Which for lack of a better term. Sucks.
Amazing, interesting and suspenseful scenes are hurriedly transitioned away from to simple aerial shots of the abbey. I’m not really even sure why, other than what felt like lazy attempts to get to the next jump-scare.
If the film had chosen to develop on those extremely slow and suspenseful scenes, then maybe the threat of demonic possession would have felt a lot more real. Instead, the viewer isn’t affected, because they’ve already moved on to the next scene.
Editing away from suspense made the entire film seem more like an adventure film. The viewer was removed from the experience of the characters. Instead I felt as if I was watching a “Scooby Doo” film as our trio explored the spooky abbey wearing goofy outfits.
For a horror movie, the lighting was awful. It failed to shine light on the characters’ experience. There were multiple scenes where we could see that there was an evil creature ready to attack but we could not see our protagonists face because they were covered in darkness.
Think back on some of the greatest horror films in the genre. They always show the victims face, even if they are completely clueless; it’s still important to connect the viewer to the cluelessness of the character. If darkness covers their face then why should a viewer care about the creepy monster about to kill them?
To finish this review I would like to say this. Go see “The Nun.” It was poorly shot, edited, and written, which made me not care at all about the characters. But who cares?
This was not meant to be the next Oscar winning film. It was meant to appeal to the masses who would rather get a couple quick jump-scares and then head home. There is nothing wrong with that, and “The Nun” caters to that desire.