Film review: “The Nun”

Yet another reason to be terrified, and not just in Loretto


Sam Haselby, Film Critic

It does not need to be October in order for everyone to be excited for Halloween. September is the month of “it is almost Halloween!” The Sept. 7 release of “The Nun” took people’s anticipation for the holiday and made them much more impatient.

The film is a prequel to the “Conjuring” universe, which has become one of the most successful horror universes in recent years since the first film in the universe, “The Conjuring” received rave reviews in 2013.

“The Nun” has been deemed the most terrifying film of the year, and with good reason. (And given Cathedral’s own history with a certain nun said to walk the halls of Loretto, the terror level is raised a notch or two.) From scene to scene the audience feels vulnerable to anything and everything that could possibly happen. James Wan, who is the man behind the “Conjuring” universe, the first “Saw” movie, the “Insidious” franchise, and for some unknown reason the upcoming “Aquaman” film, is the writer for this spinoff film within his own universe.

The combination of his writing abilities and the magically horrifying direction of Corin Hardy makes its one-hour and 36-minute runtime feel as if the viewer is trapped in an eternal horror with all of their worst nightmares clawing their way through the darkness to greet them with a sinister smile stretched across their face.

Many were worried that this film would be nothing but jump scares and that there would be a lack of story. This worry was quickly put to rest when those who saw this film came out shivering and afraid to drive home. The reason for the success of the “Conjuring” universe is all of the films within this franchise, “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Annabelle Creation,” and “The Nun” is because these films give the audience more than just a scary movie.

Wan delivers a story in a brilliant, albeit terrifying, manner that swallows the audience into the world that he has created, and “The Nun” is no exception. There is a story of the Abbey with a dark history that makes the supporting nun, Sister Irene, and a priest, Fr. Burke, question and test their faith to the fullest extent possible.

Riding along with a toilsome story, there is a constant fear that resides within the audience. The sound design along with the visual tension make the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention, the air surrounding the audience brisk to the point at which the viewers’ breath can be seen, and every slight sound that breaks the silence that engulfs the surrounding space sound like a hammer to a mirror.

There is much to fear in this movie, as the score will induce terror, and the sight of Valak will leave the viewer paralyzed with fear. Not only is this a terrifying stand alone film, but the ending is one that makes fans of the “Conjuring” universe turn to each other with their jaws dropped and scream with excitement for “The Conjuring 3.”

Anyone who is brave enough to start their Halloween watchlist with this film will leave the theater praying.