Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Nun Does Not Keep Its Vow

The latest movie in The Conjuring universe is unfortunately a squandered effort that should have been scarier and darker given the talent behind it: from the writer of Annabelle: Creation and IT (2017), from a story by James Wan (director of The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2), and from the director of The Hallow (2015). The production values are fantastic with amazing sets, atmospheric lighting, a great cast, and some really unsettling scares. So what the hell happened?

For starters, the tone wavered from scene to scene, at times old-school horror, then punny humor, then action adventure. The two leads Father Burke (Demi├ín Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) work well together but someone had a great idea to throw in a quasi-romantic hunk (?) for Sister Irene (??) who seems to be a different movie altogether (think Brendan Fraser in The Mummy). The rollicking tone sucks the tension and fear from just about every moment he's in. The film steadily loses coherence as it trudges along. There seems to be no rules as to what the demonic nun can or can’t do. She wanders freely among crucifixes, may have minions, can possess bodies and make them zombies, and can break any law of physics. There’s just no discernible logic. It seems the creative team came up with a bunch of individual great looking scenes first, and then strung them together into a story. And don’t get me started on that ending that seriously cheats the audience.

Nonetheless, it's still somewhat entertaining if you let go of all expectations (it’s going to be soooo scary because that nun is soooo scary), and accept this is not as good as the other films. Since this is part of horror franchise that is very closely tied, the comparison is inevitable and the results are judged quite harshly. One woman behind me in the theater literally yelled, “That was so disappointing!” Yes it was.



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