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The Nun

The ‘Conjuring’ horror series has spawned its own industry. Aside from the central ‘Conjuring’ films, there is the ‘Annabelle’ franchise and others like ‘The Nun’. Utilising a demon seen in ‘The Conjuring 2’, ‘The Nun’ tries to be more substantial than the rest. Mixing religious themes amongst the thrills, it’s a blend of a Hammer Horror flick and ‘The Exorcist’. Unfortunately it’s not as exciting as those efforts with the over reliance on current cinematic horror clichés truly a bad habit.

In Romania in 1952, a monastery is attacked by unseen forces after two nuns enter a tunnel to retrieve an ancient Christian relic. The evil unleashed wreaks havoc. The Vatican sends Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate. Events quickly descend into chaos with wicked entity Valak (Bonnie Aarons) taking the form of a nun. The forces of good vs evil battle it out among the abbey’s shadowy walkways as saints and sinners vie for dominance.

Corin Hardy directs ‘The Nun’ with some degree of skill. The cinematography in the Romanian countryside is effective as it creates a consistently chilling atmosphere. The way Hardy utilises his camera shots to further craft an unsettling mood proves he has talent. The performances are quite good as well with Bichir and Farmiga making their roles more dimensional. Despite a few glaring plot holes, the story itself is reasonably involving, with the character’s religious conflicts providing interest.

Going against all this are endless lazy ‘jump-scares’, and loud, booming music. Seen in countless recent horror movies, these elements drag ‘The Nun’ into average territory. Aside from Hardy, those involved behind the scenes should have had more courage in presenting something fresh as audiences can appreciate genuine innovation. The ingredients are there for a creepy time, but more often than not, very little eventuates.

‘The Nun’ should have been much better. It’s ok enough for those wanting to be easily spooked, although more discerning horror fans may be disappointed. The film-makers may need to do penance for not going far enough with the tale as this unholy effort gradually deflates from its chastity of ideas.

Rating out of 10: 6

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