The Nun

 

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The fifth instalment in ‘The Conjuring Universe’ heads back to 1952 to the very portal of hell itself. It’s becoming a habit.

 
Nun, The

Hell of a party: Taissa Farmiga (sister of Vera Farmiga)

 

Bless it, The Nun does try very hard. There are innumerable loud bangs, fleeting silhouettes, creaking doors, shifting shapes and grabbing, disembodied hands – in fact, every cliché in the book. The latest chapter in the endless, so-called ‘Conjuring universe,’ this edition cuts back to 1952 and kicks off with a whole new evil. We are in Romania at the suitably Gothic Abbey of St Cârța, where a young nun is so discomposed that she hangs herself from a window immediately above the entrance to the nunnery. There her body is discovered by a lonely goatherd, who tucks her away in a cold tomb. News of the suicide reaches the Vatican, and so a priest of indeterminate nationality and a London noviciate are sent to investigate…

 

The most disturbing moment in The Nun occurs in the opening minutes when a child is told that the demon she drew in her painting is real. That gets the imagination going. But what follows is so overblown and improbable that it all becomes quite amusing. One almost expects Mel Brooks to pop out from behind a gravestone with a song. There are plenty of visual tricks in favour of a cohesive narrative and therein lies the problem. Implausibility is not a great asset to being scared witless.

 

Furthermore, there’s a strange geographical dislocation that makes no sense whatsoever. The “miracle hunter” dispatched by the Vatican is called Anthony Burke and is portrayed by the Mexican actor Demián Bichir. The noviciate from London is played by the New Jersey-born Taissa Farmiga, who makes no attempt to conceal her American accent. And the goatherd ‘Frenchie,’ who is slumming it in Transylvania, is a French-Canadian character played by the Belgian actor Jonas Bloquet. And so it goes in the ‘Conjuring universe.’ And for those who care, it’s the fifth instalment in the series, following The Conjuring (2013), Annabelle (2014), The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017), and there’s much more to come. Here, there’s plenty of bang for your buck, but the bangs quickly become repetitive and tedious.

ere, there is plenty bang for your buck

  

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Charlotte Hope, Ingrid Bisu, Bonnie Aarons, David Horovitch, Michael Smiley, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor.

 

Dir Corin Hardy, Pro Peter Safran and James Wan, Screenplay Gary Dauberman, from a story by James Wan and Gary Dauberman, Ph Maxime Alexandre, Pro Des Jennifer Spence, Ed Michel Aller and Ken Blackwell, Music Abel Korzeniowski, Costumes Sharon Gilham.

 

New Line Cinema/Atomic Monster Productions/The Safran Company-Warner Bros

96 mins. USA. 2018. Rel: 7 September 2018. Cert. 15.