The Nun: Horror film is Predictable, but Fun

2.5 out of 5 stars (Decent)

The Nun poster
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The Nun is the newest installment in the popular Conjuring film series, though you don’t need to have seen the other films to get it.  While it certainly isn’t as good as The Conjuring 1 and 2, the film is a suitably fun Haunted House Movie (or, Haunted Abbey Movie in this case), and should satisfy people who enjoy easy, predictable jump scares with friends.  Unfortunately, anyone expecting a character-driven story like the first two Conjurings will be sorely disappointed.

Father Burke (Demian Bichir) has been sent to an Abbey by the Vatican to investigate a nun’s suicide.  He is joined by unavowed novice Irene (Taissa Farmiga, TV’s American Horror Story) and comedic relief guide Frenchie (an enjoyable Jonas Bloquet), and the trio sets off to the abbey unaware of the sinister and supernatural evil that calls it home, namely a ghostly Nun (An effective Bonnie Aarons).

I understand why most critics are being harsh on this film.  This is a horror series that has stood out from the crowd by providing engaging stories and interesting characters along with effective scares, and this one is more focused on the scares.  The characters are not as interesting as they could be, but the performances are good enough to get you through if you like this kind of thing.  I’ll likely forget most of the details of this film after writing this review, but I enjoyed watching it with my cousin alone in the dark theater.  This should have been a Halloween release, not a Summer one.  The dark, gothic design of the Abbey and candle-lit hallways make it perfect for home viewing parties with friends, and there are unexpected bits of humor to lighten the mood (something other films did not have), to good effect.

The Nun’s biggest failure is its reliance on predictable jump scares over an engaging story or characters.  The camera movement repeats in every scary scene to prepare you for the ghouls to pop out: Shot of the room from the ceiling, then a close-up shot of the character’s face, then the camera slowly turns to reveal the ghost behind them.  It’s fun, but seriously predictable and feels longer than its 96-minute runtime.  Despite that, I would still recommend renting the film, as there are enough good effects and some good humor to make it a fun ride. Rent it.

Rated R for Terror, Violence, And Disturbing/Bloody Images

7 Reasons to see “Episode 7”

  1. Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens Poster
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    New faces enter, old ones return-It’s a chance to see all of your favorite characters (well, the ones that didn’t die) from the original trilogy. They may have aged a bit, but they are still the same people you remember from the original classics. We also get some new, equally classic and relatable characters into the mix too!

  2. Strong Female Lead-This film has the best female lead of 2015. She’s fast, furious, and can kick some serious butt when necessary. However, she cares for her friends and will be strong even when she is feeling weak on the inside. My apologies to Furiosa (of this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road) and Katniss Everdeen, but this film outdoes them by a mile. I see a very bright future for Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrays this character, as she has a fantastic screen presence and immediate likability that few modern actresses possess, as well as being able to be funny and dramatic with perfect finesse. I hope to see her in many films after this trilogy ends, as her career is off to a perfect start.
  3. Strong African American lead-This film not only has a strong, unsexualized female lead, but an African-American lead as well. In a market where black people are primarily comic relief and/or side characters, it was wonderous to see one on the front lines. He is resourceful to his comrades and will do anything to help those close to him, despite the risks involved. John Boyega has unexpected energy on screen, as well as great chemistry with his co-stars. I hope to see his star rise high after this franchise is done.
  4. Humor-The trailers for this film make it look as if it’s going to be extremely dark and serious (because we don’t have enough of THAT in our multiplexes). Fear not, this film is extremely fun, with fast, witty banter between characters just like in the original trilogy. It’s not a comedy, but this film is the funniest installment since The Empire Strikes Back.
  5. Action-This movie is loaded with action. Every sequence is well-shot, superbly intense, and amazing to watch on the big screen. Every set piece outdoes the last, something that few action films can pull off. The 3D only increases their awesomeness. If you enjoy action, then this will surely satisfy you.
  6. Story-Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away here. The narrative of this film is its primary focus, a shocking rarity in modern sci-fi. The story is always engaging, always moving towards the final result with some of the finest pacing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s unpredictable to the point of craziness, and that is a high accomplishment.
  7. JJ Abrams-The final reason to see this film is its director, JJ Abrams. A huge fan of the franchise, JJ understands what people want to see, and brings the best elements of the series (great characters, humor, and action) while leaving the worst (people sitting and talking) behind. I am extremely sad to say that he will not return for the next two episodes in the trilogy. Hopefully he stays in the loop, as he has created a story that could take this franchise in exiting new directions if done correctly
  8. Bonus: You don’t have to watch those pesky prequels again to understand what’s going on here-breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Those are my thoughts on The Force Awakens .  If you like Star Wars, you have to see this.  If you don’t, then you’ll enjoy the action anyway.  I don’t normally do this, but I declare this to be my number one film of 2015.  May the Force Be With You All This Christmas