The Nun Review: With All Hype and No Horror Jolts

Considered to be the most awaited horror movie of the year, the Nun is the fifth horror film in The Conjuring Universe. This spin-off of the 2016 horror hit, The Conjuring 2, The Nun had created a huge interest among both the gothic horror and supernatural movie lovers. However, after its release, it has generated mixed reactions in the viewers. Despite being a box-office hit worldwide, The Nun fails to be the ‘darkest chapter in the Conjuring Universe’.


Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun belongs to the genre of gothic supernatural movies. It boasts a star cast of the ‘American Horror Story’ fame Taissa Farmiga, ‘A Better Life’ fame Mexican-American actor Demián Bichir and the Belgian actor Jonas Bloquet who is known for his role in the 2016 movie Elle. While Farmiga plays the role of the innocent yet brave Sister Irene, Bichir portrays the experienced Father Burke and Bloquet is seen as Frenchie, a comic relief on screen. And then there is Bonnie Aarons who played The Nun or the demon Valak. Shot with a budget of $22 million, The Nun hit the theatres on September 7, 2018.


Set in the years after World War II, in a castle of Romania, The Nun introduces the presence of Valak and a young nun is shown to commit suicide. To investigate the suicide of the young nun, the Vatican sends the priest (Bichir) and Sister Irene (Farmiga) who guided by a villager named Frenchie, and they start to investigate the unusual suicide and mysteries of the castle. As they proceed their investigation not only they encounter supernatural occurrences but also find out that the suicide of the young nun was not a suicide but a sacrifice to prevent Valak (a demonic entity) from possessing her body. The battle between the good and bad continues more vehemently as Valak tries to possess the body of Sister Irene and the trio involves in wading off the evil leading to a conclusion that establishes The Nun’s link with The Conjuring.

Things I Liked

Overall, as a movie, I liked The Nun. But, wait, I didn’t say anything about it as a horror flick.

The paranormal mystery with supernatural elements in it, The Nun, does have its moments of surprise and terror. The fantastic camerawork, (especially the aerial shot in the prayer room where Valak attacks the praying nuns) never lets’ the interest quotient drop. The movie clearly shows many attempts of putting up new dimensions to the horror genre, which even if not so successful, are definitely noteworthy.

Usually, horror movies, when it comes to sequels and prequels, fail to maintain plot authenticity and are presented in a fear of being overshadowed by its prequels. But The Nun has succeeded in offering us an authentic story, despite the fact that its predecessor The Conjuring was the benchmark-setting cult movie. The Nun doesn’t hesitate to try even scenes of comic relief.

As a classic horror movie, if you don’t compare it with other movies of the Conjuring Universe, The Nun boasts the visually enriching cinematography, charming and sincere acting, quality grade Hollywood VFX, a decent story and well-created gloomy and foreboding gothic atmosphere. Presenting the castle or the Church as a spooky one and constantly lending a melancholic tone to the atmosphere is definitely satisfactory.

While getting out of the theatre, I heard people talking about why Valak appeared on the screen only as a Nun but not in his demonic avatar, which wasn’t explained in The Nun. Well, from my point of view, this take on the appearance of Valak was rather a good one where it was shown that Valak resorted to the holiness of the appearance of a nun to deceive others. This appearance of Valak somewhere explains the age-old idea that demons try to deceive one by their skills and tricks, which in this case Valak in the appearance of a nun.

Things I Didn’t Like

The Nun may stand the test of being called a good watch, but was it supposed to be only a ‘good watch’? Was this darkest chapter in the Conjuring universe meant to be so not-dark and unconvincing? Well, no. Every one of us who had been scared of going to the bathroom at night after watching The Conjuring had a lot of horror-expectations from The Nun, which the movie terribly fails to deliver. The horror moments fail to linger on your mind the way the previous movies of this series did.

I wonder, why always the later parts of a horror series tend to show its knack for comic moments all of a sudden! The mix of comedy with horror does make a movie fun and worth watching again when you enter the cinema being mentally prepared for watching a comedy horror. The nun proves to be a sheer disappointment as me with my friends went to the theatre expecting some spine-chilling horror, few screams, and praises for The Nun. But instead, we came out with a ‘what the hell’ expression.

The first half of The Nun slowly proceeds through the dark corners of the old castle only to create a proper background; so that, when Valak finally appears it creates a huge impact on the mind of the viewers. Even the second half was more focused on the illusions than on Valak. And then comes the most terrible ending where Valak is shown to return to hell through the ‘gate of hell’ yet somehow possessing Frenchie. Seriously!!! Then what is the meaning of showing that the ‘blood of Christ’ (don’t know where it came from and how the Church people preserved the blood of Jesus Christ) sealed the ‘gate of hell’.

I know, when we are talking about The nun, it is meant to show the origin of the demon Valak and not how Valak returns to hell, otherwise, the Conjuring 2 would not be there. But, the way the movie has shown it all, was funny and illogical.

And, let’s come to the character of the priest. I can write a whole article on him repeating the lines that he has nothing to do in The Nun except for foolishly fighting the horrors of his past. I wonder what is the point of his very existence in the movie. Because during the majority of screen time, he is seen either wondering what is what or regretting about Daniel or being knocked unconscious. It was Sister Irene and Frenchie who did all the work.

In simpler words, The Nun is a big let-down for the Conjuring Universe fan. Even a horror movie requires enough convincing to scare the viewers. And in this case, despite some of the jump-scare moments, The Nun was not at all convincing. We expected Valak to be more evil, more horrifying and darker.

Final Verdict

Well, if you have no other movies to watch this weekend, or don’t want to miss the fifth movie of the Conjuring Universe, go for The Nun. Be it Hollywood or Bollywood, the film industry already lacks good horror movies that are worth remembering. So in that case, compared to other horror movies of low-quality and weak-plot, The Nun will satisfy your senses.

But, those who are really desperate to relive the moments of The Conjuring and expecting similar chills and horror screams, The Nun will surely disappoint you. But, yes, the high sound and quality graphics in the multiplexes will give you some jump-scare moments. The weak plot, the slow-paced story-telling and poor portrayal of Valak, the actual protagonist of the movie may leave you broken hearted and regretting the money you spent on the big screen to watch The Nun.

My Rating: 5/10

About The Author

Debaki Pramanick

Debaki Pramanick

Debaki is a freelance writer by choice, a movie buff by interest and an avid travel enthusiast by love. She likes to explore different mountain terrains and have a passion for hiking and trekking. Also a nature lover, she likes to document her trekking experiences with her photography works, bringing out the most alive, and fascinating stories from the mountains.

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