When it comes to horror movies, in the last few years we have been getting really bad films. They are all generic, super predictable, relying on jump-scares in order to excuse their ill-gotten ratings and the privilege of being marked as horror movies, or even thrillers. Luckily for us, James Wan decided to take the first steps to create a horror cinematic universe with The Conjuring, and now we got the eeriest movie of the entire universe he created in The Nun.
My obsession with horror movies had been on a halt because of what I call “fake” horror movies which are films that call themselves to be “horror” but instead are slasher or simple gore. James Wan, though, brought hope back to the horror scene with the first The Conjuring movie, followed by Annabelle and their sequels. Now, we needed to know where did Valak come from, and that’s the whole story that’s being told in The Nun.
We all got to know about The Nun (better known as the demon Valak) from The Conjuring 2. That’s the where the Warrens got to save a family from this demon. We needed to know where it came from, and this movie focuses on exactly that.
In order for us to get to know the origins of Valak we had to go back to the 1500’s in Romania, where there’s the Abbey of St. Carta, a place that has been left completely aside by villagers, and that we get to learn is almost forbidden to talk about.
This place is completely in ruins, but it still looks majestic among all the green that surrounds it; however, there’s this eerie feeling when you see the surroundings which are full of crosses that are standing from the ground and hanging from trees. You don’t need to be an expert to know that something’s not right, but that feeling isn’t enoough to make you leave the place, you have to know what is hiding in here, and why there are so many crosses around.
The whole idea of why we get to this abbey is that the Vatican got to know about some strange situation going on in this place, so they enlisted Father Burke, a priest who is part of a really selected group of people that the Vatican seeks when there’s something paranormal going on and they need to get to know whether it is something real that concerns their religion, or not; and paired him up with novice Sister Irene, a young woman who is thinking about becoming a nun but hasn’t taken her vows yet.
As soon as they arrive to the abbey, we know something is really really wrong, there’s this entity roaming around this monastery, silently, patiently and always keeping an eye on whoever is around. You can almost feel like something is behind you, and you could even be right on that.
There’s this place within the abbey, in what could be seen as catacombs, where there’s a really eerie environment, those claustrophobic hallways that are super long, super dark as well, and for some reason, every time we see it there’s this white smoke at the floor level that cover up to your knees, that kind of smoke that screams “DANGER!!!!” at you, but Sister Irene is certainly trusting her faith, so even when she is afraid of something, she’ll keep on going against anything that crosses her path.
Throughout the movie we get to know how Valak got to this place, and we also get to know that it is always seeking to possess a human in order to escape this place; however, between Father Burke, Sister Irene and “Frenchie” (who just so happens to be the comedic relief of the film) we will see if it is possible to reach the place beyond where God can reach, as it is sculpted in a wooden door that simply says “God ends here” and seal the demon inside.
If you’ve followed my reviews, you’d notice that I never really talk about the setting of a movie; however, it is completely needed to talk about it for The Nun.
Set in the 1500’s, we have to get used to the fact that, in this Romanian village there’s just no electricity, no technology, and nowhere to run. There are plenty of topics that we get to hear about during this movie, the middle-age army used by the Vatican, demonology, exorcisms, premonitions and even the way an abbey works.
There isn’t a better setting for a full-on horror movie than this one. Long hallways, dark rooms, oil lamps, a radio –for some reason. This is the time in which murders happened and there was no justice, an age of false beliefs, where people was easily influenced (yeah, I know, this sounds like 2018 as well, sadly!).
Father Burke has a deep background, he has been with these “Vatican Special Forces” as an “investigator of the extraordinaire” and, of course, he is an exorcist (you get to know by his full suit and hat, along with the briefcase he carries everywhere) who has been doing this for a long time, and is now tasked with investigating if the Abbey of St. Carta is still holy ground or not.
Sister Irene is a really devoted young nun who has experienced some paranormal situations since she was a little kid. Her father thought that she was an unbalanced girl and even the Vatican got involved as they got to believe she was possessed by a demon. These experiences forged her personality to become a super strong willed person, even able to go against a demon like Valak.
Frenchie is the comic relief of The Nun, but he is way more than just that. Frenchie is the sort of guy who is always hitting on women, but he has a good heart as he went to Romania to help everyone as much as he could, and one of the tasks he fulfilled was to bring fruits and vegetables to the abbey, task that got him involved in this whole story.
When it comes to cinematography for The Nun, there are just a few things to keep in mind: you’ll never see the person the camera is focusing, you’ll always feel observed, even during the day, everything feels really dark. Because of this is that The Nun might as well be the eeriest movie you’ve seen in years.
Remember how in Paranormal Activity there was no soundtrack and that was the reason you had to turn the volume all the way up in order to pay attention to anything that made a sound during the night? That’s what happens in The Nun, because most of the time there is absolutely no background music, you only get to hear ambient sounds such as steps, the flames from candles, wind blowing through the rocky walls.
The cherry on top for this soundtrack, though, is the sound that is played whenever Valak appears. It is like monks singing, sounds that make you feel uncomfortable, tense, and really scared.
The way Valak looks is just super creepy. Whenever you get to see Valak’s face, you can’t get it out of your head for days. While The Nun brings a few jump-scares to get viewers scared to their feet, the horror in this movie comes from how tense you feel from beginning to end. You know something isn’t right, you know something is about to happen, and unlike on many “horror” movies, for The Nun it isn’t always as predictable as you may believe, and the few surprises that take you out of base are totally worth it.
The Nun might be one of the best horror movies from recent years, bringing an eerie feeling that goes down your spine at all times while keeping you on the edge of your seat without disappointing. For horror fans this will not disappoint, and will fulfill all of your scary needs.