The Nun: Jump scares aside, not much reason to watch


Valak haunting Lorraine Warren in “Conjuring 2”

by Lilly Player, Managing Editor

WARNING: This article contains spoilers.

James Wan has built his own Roman Empire of horror films, and as everything great has a downfall, The Nun might be his Constantinople.

The Nun, rated R, horrified me in a way that no movie has done since the release of The Conjuring in 2013. I went into the movie praying that it would scare me, and I got what I wished for. However, the film focused more on the jump scares than the plot, leaving it lacking in substance.

After watching a minute-long teaser, that gave me chills with the ominous “Watch till the end,” there was much excitement going into the theatre with my ticket for the horror film. The trailer left people all over the nation giddy with high expectations for Wan’s new horror film. Unfortunately, he did not deliver.

The Nun premiered on September 6. The Box Office brought in a whopping $53.5 million on opening weekend, which exceeded their budget by $31.5 million. But despite making almost double their budget for the film, they earned dozens of bad reviews.

“Its script utilizes the kitchen-sink approach common to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters-and the film is worse off for it,” said Katie Rife on AV Film Club.

Let’s start with the major but totally predictable plot twist where all the nuns that Sister Irene, the protagonist, sees are actually dead. She’s talking to their ghosts and seeing how they all died at the hands of Valek.

Mind blowing? Yes. Tacky and over-used in films? Double yes.

Then there’s that silly scene with the history of the Abbey of St.Carta and its affiliation with Valak. A priest using actual blood from Jesus Christ to close a portal to Hell? Let’s be a little realistic.

One reason I think The Conjuring‘s franchise, Wan’s most popular series, is amazing is because the films are (loosely) based on real life cases from paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. But The Nun, while scary in theme, did not have that “this might happen to me in real life” terror to it.

 The Conjuring was so well received by fans due to the movie feeling more like a story, rather than just a typical horror film. In almost every one of Wan’s movies in the franchise, he has mastered that feeling of investment into the characters’ lives…except for The Nun.

One thing that the crew did a phenomenal job on was tying the movie into the first Conjuring film through the character of Maurice. Throughout The Nun, his character is mainly referred to as “Frenchie” but right away I noticed his similarity to the guy from the exorcism in the first film, who left Lorraine locked in her room for eight days.  

Ed Warren describes Maurice as a “French-Canadian farmer” and in The Nun that is how a young Frenchie describes himself. Finding out that Maurice was really the same character as Frenchie was another predictable plot-twist. 

During the movie there were important scenes that the producers and script writers could have elaborated more on, like the scene where Priests were sitting around the Vatican discussing a nun’s suicide. They talked about the circumstances of her death for all of five seconds, and then moved on to a jump scene.

As a horror film junkie, something I look for is a story line and character development that connects me to the plot. The Conjuring, Conjuring 2, and Annabelle all delivered this beautifully, so what happened with The Nun?

All in all, The Nun could use a lot of work in their explanations during the movie, but could definitely decrease their brilliant talent for giving me a heart attack every five seconds of the film.

If you’re a fellow horror addict then The Nun is for you, if you like films that rely solely on jump scares. Looking for a decent plot with a moving story line? I suggest re-watching The Conjuring.