The Nun (Movie Review)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

PLOT: After the mysterious death of a nun, a priest and a young noviitiate – a nun in training who has yet to give her vows – are sent to investigate. Once they arrive, they come to the realization that there is an evil force ready to destroy anyone in its path.

REVIEW: Audiences have come to expect a certain type of horror within what they call The Conjuring universe. The stories tend to be just as devoted to Ed and Lorraine Warren and their inspired relationship, as much as the ghost story itself. Even the ANNABELLE films tend to take a more classic approach. Thus, stepping into THE NUN, I had a feeling it would take the same approach. It didn’t. Not at all. The latest – this time with Corin Hardy as the film’s director – feels as if it is one of those haunted house attractions that appear around Halloween. It featured a cool set design with a ton of creepy religious imagery, and more than a few bizarre sequences that would be more in line with a sequel to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. This nun’s story is a strange one that can certainly be an enjoyable ride, even if tends to go off the rails at times.

the nun taissa farmiga jonas bloquet demian bichir bonnie aarons corin hardy the conjuring james wan

In 1952, after the apparent suicide of a nun at the Carta Monastery in Romania, a priest and a nun – one who has yet to make her vows – go to investigate the aftermath. Once there, they meet up with the man nicknamed “Frenchie” (Jonas Bloquet) who discovered the body. When they arrive to the desecrated ground, they discover that there is an extra helping of freaky happenings going on. This includes a secretive Reverend Mother and one nun who is constantly praying for their souls in what appears to be a soulless place. Almost immediately, Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) realize they must destroy whatever evil that has taken over the place. If only they can get past a myriad of hallucinations, horrific encounters and that pesky demonic nun (Bonnie Aarons) who terrified audiences in the 2016 sequel THE CONJURING 2.

With this introduction to the demonic force they call “Valek,” the filmmakers have taken quite a different approach from THE CONJURING. THE NUN runs just over an hour and a half, as opposed to over two hours, and the action arrives quite fast. Instead of a more traditional approach, the new feature presents us with implausible situations and a story that is oftentimes a mess. It isn’t nearly as well told as its predecessor, but that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. This insane flick is a myriad of nightmarish imagery with (too many) CGI monsters and a whimsical funhouse approach. Things pop out at you and characters are put in extreme situations where there is very little chance they would survive but somehow still do. If you ever wondered what would happen if Freddy Krueger landed in a NATIONAL TREASURE flick you may get something like this.

The beauty of having a small cast is that you can give them equal focus so we get to know each character involved. Both Bichir and Farmiga are well cast, but it is Bloquet who gives the most engaging performance. The actor has all the best lines and he delivers them with a charismatic sense of humor. As the wide eyed innocent Sister Irene, Taissa takes the more serious approach, as does Bichir. This dynamic works better than expected. The movie is especially enjoyable when the three actors are together. As for the remaining cast, they are all minor players in this supernatural frenzy of oddball horror. When they do pop up, you know that something evil is going to be following very close behind.

By taking a more fantastical approach, Hardy takes this story on a slightly uneven journey. Throughout the film, the demon takes on other forms and it more than once feels ridiculous. Every time we see one of the strange creatures that pop up, they tend to bring a laugh as opposed to any sign of fear. However, much thought was clearly put into the gothic set design which is especially satisfying. Visually there is much to enjoy, especially one tense graveyard scene, where Father Burke gets much to close to the demonic entity. While there are a number of great things, the movie as a whole doesn’t quite get the balance of over-the-top scares and extreme suspense.

the nun corin hardy the conjuring demian bichir taissa farmiga jonas bloquet james wan horror bonnie aarons

THE NUN is nuts. And sometimes that is a good thing. While the cast is certainly good, it is the man that is nicknamed “Frenchie” that gives the most enjoyable performance. Jonas Bloquet is terrific and his connection to THE CONJURING will be a treat for fans. However, if you are looking forward for another highbrow horror story, you won’t get that here. This is a fun house ride that will have audiences laughing and perhaps screaming on occasion. The subtle horrors have been replaced by a ridiculous, but still entertaining, story of a demon with a penchant for wearing a nun’s habit. It may be absurd, but I’d be willing to bet that this crazy flick would be worth seeing with a large audience on a Friday night. And most likely, it will be enough to get fans ready for the next feature in the world of ghost investigators, demons and supernatural happenings.

The Nun



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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.