The Nun Blu-ray Review
“The following occurred in 1952,” warns opening text. On the outside of a monastery door reads, “God Ends Here.” It’s within those walls that two nuns are attacked by some sort of form, the now quite familiar Valak, who apparently enjoys the contradiction of dressing as a nun. One of the sisters vanishes and the other, in extreme despair, hangs herself.
Father Burke (Demián Burke, ALIEN: COVENANT) is requested by Vatican officials to investigate the suicide. He is teamed with Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, one of the key rotating players on AMERICAN HORROR STORY), in a situation that, on paper, could have made one hell of a twisted buddy comedy. Their task, and a local man named Frenchi (Jonas Bloquet, 2016’s ORPHAN) takes them to Romania, where the incident occurred and the pair can begin to discover what is behind all that has happened.
There’s not much a mystery here (although a character in glasses flipping through old books might trick a few viewers in this regard), as the opening sequence (and, you know, the title) hands it all out. What there is a lot of is jump scares, the number one source for spooks in THE NUN. This is, of course, cheap, but considering the locales of isolated churches and Romanian landscapes, which so much could be done with, they come off so much easier than the story could have used. Really, there are so many times that a popped-up face or a piercing music cue can work. (There are, still, some pretty interesting visuals, like the snake emerging from one character’s mouth–although anything even close to this is quickly forgotten when the next scene features a character walking around a dark house with a lantern, a staple for movies like this. Of note, too, is the look of the demon Valak, portrayed by Bonnie Aarons, who memorably played one of the most frightening characters of the century, The Bum in David Lynch’s MULHOLLAND DRIVE.)
THE NUN is the fifth installment in THE CONJURING franchise (dubbed a “Universe” by the production company), after THE CONJURING (2013), THE CONJURING 2 (2016), ANNABELLE (2014), and ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017). (Third installments of each, perhaps predictably, already have release dates.) Whereas THE CONJURING and its sequel offered an effective atmosphere and some genuine scares, THE NUN is just so lazy, and so often comes off as an uninspired and unnecessary tack-on of the “universe.”
Director Corin Hardy (2015’s THE HALLOW), working with a script by Gary Dauberman (who wrote or co-wrote the ANNABELLE movies), offers a clunky and sometimes overly noisy work that fails to do much in any attachment, whether through genre or franchise. It’s just kind of there, providing so little depth and not even aware that it exists to drag out an uneven series.
Video: 2.4:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong and the blacks are deep, adding to the atmosphere of THE NUN.
Audio: English Dolby Atmos-TrueHD; English DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Dialogue is clean, while the score (particularly the jump cues) works to heighten the scares.
A New Horror Icon (5:18) puts focus on the titular character.
Gruesome Planet (6:18) looks at some of the Romanian locations used in the movie.
The Conjuring Chronicle (3:50) briefly goes over the franchise.
Deleted Scenes (12:18): There are seven here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole.