‘The Nun’ will scare the hell into you
Atmospheric creeps accent “The Nun,” particularly the bowels of the ancient Romanian abbey. The catacombs appear like they’ve not been explored in hundreds of years, adding to the bumps in the dark seat jumpers.
Since this follows the “Conjuring” series, director Corin Hardy’s inducing frights without elaborate special effects reminds one of B horror thrillers of the 40s/50s and the 60s/70s British Hammer ones from American International.
An unknown exists – an evil force that has dwelled in what’s normally a Godly place. A young nun hanged herself at the abbey. Of course, there’s the repeated supernatural denials and explaining away of paranormal events.That’s why the Vatican sends a priest with exorcism experience to investigate.
Suffice that this abbey more resembles a Transylvanian castle; townspeople believe it a doorway to the scorching Devil’s abode. Director Hardy has it obstructed by overgrown weeds, forgotten resting places, and apparitions floating in the misty fog.
The residing nuns have accepted their apparent prayer guardianship against the opening of a doorway saturated with consecrated blood in a cavernous lower level. They ignore Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and novice, but spiritually sensitive, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) allowing them to prowl by candlelight through the gothic venue.
Suffice that creepy, down in the earth caverns nearly negate holding these filmmakers to a high standard for the obvious script weaknesses, part of which come from recycling similar scares once too often (is that the evil nun?).
Burke and Irene hardly matter. They search, observe and react whether to a spinning explosive crucifix or possession traumatized unfortunates. Characters need more development, but Hardy’s camera maneuvers (twisted and extreme closeups) and the one wrong turn from burning eternity darkened catacombs keep you jumping… but you won’t think your pants are about to catch fire from the proximity to brimstone.
Tony Rutherford is a film reviewer for HuntingtonNews.net and a member of the Huntington Regional Film Commission.