The Nun

The Nun can be scary fun, but critics call out cliches and jump scares of Conjuring prequel

Contributed by
Sep 6, 2018

Get thee to a nunnery?  Perhaps not. Critics are not exactly giving their blessings to The Nun, the fifth installment in The Conjuring cinematic universe hitting theaters on Friday.

For many reviewers, complaints about The Nun range from a bevy of cliché jump scares and empty thrills to nonsensical character motivations as it tells the origin story of the demonic sister named Valak that made her first terrifying appearance in The Conjuring 2.

The prequel, which is set two decades before Ed and Lorraine Warren undertook their paranormal investigations which kicked off the horror franchise, stars Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene who finds herself sent by the Vatican to investigate the grisly hanging of a nun at a Romanian castle-turned-convent, what seems to be a suicide. Joining her on the mission is Father Burke, a demon-hunting priest played by Demián Bichir. Farmiga's character, just FYI, bears no relation to Lorraine, the role essayed by her older sister Vera Farmiga in the previous Conjuring flicks.

The Nun gif

The Nun, directed by Corin Hardy, has so far scored a 49 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer, indicating a pretty evenly divided critical consensus. Of course, this being a Conjuring entry, a splat won't stop those looking to exercise (or shall we say exorcise?) their B-movie habit and hit a midnight scarefest, and on that score, it appears the Gothic thrill ride mostly delivers the goods.

So before you go and say your Hail Marys, be sure and check out our roundup below of some of the more notable reviews:

"Employing just about every trick from the Hammer Horror playbook without wasting time trying to make any sense, it provides a serviceable 96 minutes of standard-issue jump scares and supernatural hokum, keeping the franchise fresh in moviegoers’ minds and raking in some easy cash while we wait for the next proper installment," offers Variety.

"It’s a spooky, entertaining, but totally goofy entry in The Conjure-verse,” writes The Wrap which noted that "every gothic element is overblown, every “boo” scare is shouted so loud it can break glass (sometimes literally)."

"The last two thirds of the movie provide a cavalcade of scares, one after another," notes EW.com. "Nothing stands out as uniquely memorable or iconic (the nun-in-the-mirror bit, scary as it was, was already done in The Conjuring 2). But when it leans into its camp… The Nun comes closest to its ideal form of go-to midnight-movie."

"A presence that initially was disturbing grows repetitive and almost predictable over the course of an entire film," offers RogerEbert.com about the film's central horror figure.

The Hollywood Reporter on the other hand hailed Valak as "the new pic's ace," calling her "deliciously creepy" and adding that Farmiga "emerges as the film’s plucky beating heart, in a breakout performance good enough to make you forget her uncanny likeness to big sis."

The Nun opens this Friday.

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