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Nun, The


Stars: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Charlotte Hope, Michael Smiley, Ingrid Bisu, Sandra Teles, August Maturo, Jack Falk, Lynnette Gaza

Director: Corin Hardy

Another week, yet another horror film.

Obviously determined to milk every bloody drop of profit from The Conjuring series, The Nun reintroduces the demonic sister from The Conjuring 2 and lets her loose in a far-flung abbey in Darkest Romania.

But, despite a deluge of Hammer-style special effects and a diabolical nun who is all too often more ham than Hammer, this brash spin-off - while serving up a slew of standard horrorfilm tropes and effective enough special effects - has, in the final analysis,little new in the way of genre shocks and scares to mark The Nun as anything much more than a standard spin-off designed to keep a series going.

James Wan’s and Gay Daubernman's predicable-enough screenplay sees a young nun hanging herself in a cloistered abbey in Romania, an action that inspires the Vatican to send Bircher - a priest with a haunted past - and novitiate nun Farmiga to investigate.

Cue broad horror as the investigators find themselves up against the forces of Hell In the form of demonic nun Aarons who employs just about anything an everything in the supernatural villain’s handbook to try and sort out the Vatican invaders, including the splendidly scary sequence of Bircher being buried alive... Apart from that claustrophobic chill, however, most of the move follows feebly in the footsteps of such far better genre moviemakers as Terence Fisher to deliver a good-looking but otherwise tired addition to the ever increasing shockfilm filmography.

Alexandre's cinematography and Spence's moody art direction help make the frequent reminders of better and scarier genre from from the past see rather better than they actually are, and Hardy's direction, while not really deserving of laurels, is efficient enough given the cliched material he has to work from keep you watching while hoping for something rather better and more inspired to turns up.

So unless you are a horrorfilm virgin or a genre completist, you will be forced to rely on tried-and-true genre cliches to give you your money’s worth.

In the final analysis, what The Nun largely conjured up for me was a growing feeling of deja vu.

Alan Frank

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 07 Sep 2018