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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 17, 2018

The Nun Movie Review: Earns Big Money At The Tills But Is Actually Devoid Of Genuine Scares

‘THE NUN’ is the fifth movie in “The Conjuring” cinematic universe. A big blockbuster in 2013, the first “Conjuring” film introduced psychic couple Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and their encounters with spooks. Made with a budget only $20 million, it raked in almost $320 million worldwide so a sequel of sorts is inevitable, “Annabelle” in 2014, starring the scary doll introduced in “Conjuring”. In 2016, the real sequel “The Conjuring 2” was shown and this set up another scary character, “The Nun”, which haunted Lorraine. Last year, a prequel was shown “Annabelle: Creation”, which showed how the evil doll started.

And now, 2018, we get “The Nun”, another prequel set in 1952, showing how Valak, the demon nun, began sowing havoc in a cloistered nunnery in Romania. The demon caused a young nun, Sister Victoria (Charlotte Hope) to kill herself so Valak can’t take possession of her soul. The Vatican then assigns Father Burke (Demian Bichir of “Alien: Covenant”), to investigate what happened.

He goes to Romania with a novice to nun to assist him, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, sister of Vera seen in the TV show “America Horror Story” which established her as a Scream Queen.) In Romania, they meet the guy who discovered the remains of Sister Victoria after she hanged herself. He’s called Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) since he’s French Canadian, but his real name is Maurice. He acts as their guide.

We all know that “The Nun” is made mainly to cash in on the success of “The Conjuring” franchise and its makers are right. “The Nun” is now making a killing at the box office and its first day gross in the U.S. is bigger than any of the past “Conjuring” movies. That makes us sure that “The Conjuring” train will merrily roll along as more sequels are now being cooked up after the series really resonated well with its target audience.

The question now is: is it really scary? We’re afraid the answer is no. It does have its own quota of jump scares that viewers go for and Director Corin Hardy succeeds in jolting the audience several times, but we ourselves don’t really fully buy what transpires on screen. The sense of lingering dread that enhances the movie’s suspenseful scenes, which made “The Conjuring 1” quite fascinating, is here.

But after a while, it all seems perfunctory, as if they’re just following a formula by the numbers and many of the elements are actually derivative from past horror films, like the inverted crosses, the foggy forest, the dark candlelit hallways and the horse that won’t go near the abbey as it can smell something sinister, thus making “The Nun” fall short in terms of originality. It’s just business as usual, often times manipulatively so.

Even the lead characters make the same mistakes that other characters in other horror movies usually make. They know the place is haunted and yet they’re oh so brave in walking around graveyards and eerie basement corridors just all by their lonesome selves. So when something bad happens, we say: “Buti nga, because you’re so stupid!”

In the course of the movie, Father Burke and Sister Irene survive being strangled, drowned, buried alive, chased, hurled on walls by The Nun and you’d really wonder why the demon doesn’t seem to be really serious in wanting to finish them off. The Nun is also being blamed by the people of the nearby town for causing the death of their loved ones. But honestly, Valak doesn’t seem scary at all, he just looks like an ugly vakla in drag. Multong vakla. He should have asked some advice from Ru Paul.
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