Review by J.T. Johnson
In 2016’s “The Conjuring 2”, Ed and Lorraine Warren came into contact with the demon Valek. Now, “The Nun” sets up just how Valek came to cross their paths with a story set in 1952 Romania. This is the fifth film in the Conjuring Universe and the third spin-off film from the main series after “Annabelle” and “Annabelle: The Creation”.
After the suicide of a nun in an abby in Romania, the Vatican decides to send Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate. There, they meet other nuns that inform them that they have been keeping an evil force at bay for hundreds of years. This force is now growing stronger and strange things begin to happen in the isolated castle where the abby is set up.
The first thing to mention is that the movie is flawed. There are some narrative loose ends that are never fully addressed and the editing of the film is a bit sloppy. Also, the movie adds nothing new to the possession horror films nor is it anywhere near the best religious horror film out there.
Yet, I can’t deny that overall, I really enjoyed this film. I think I liked it for the same reason that I liked the two “Conjuring” films. The film is more focused on setting a spooky tone rather than simply hitting you with one jump scare after another, though there are more jump scares in this film than the others.
It also helps that the performances are also really good. Farmiga, who is the sister of Vera Farmiga (Lorraine in “The Conjuring”) does a particularly good job as Sister Irene, the novitiate that has yet to take her vows in order to fully become a nun. Irene is a strong character but she isn’t afraid of the character’s vulnerability as well.
Farmiga is also joined by Bichir as Father Burke and I really liked this veteran priest who has seen his share of the supernatural yet unlike so many flawed priests in the past films, he still has the faith to fight evil. He works well with Farmiga as they become partners for the Catholic Church in order to fight the demon that is haunting the abby. Finally, these two are also joined by Frenchie, played by Jonas Bloquet and he is a villager who decides to help out the two when he realizes that they are in danger.
Finally, the movie also works as a side story to the main “Conjuring” film series. It adds more depth to this ever-growing shared universe and while it may be flawed, it is a decent little thriller. For those new to this series, it may not be for you but if you’ve been following the films up to this point, you’ll probably enjoy the attempt at making another tribute to the supernatural B horror films from yesteryear.