The Nun (2018)

R Running Time: 96 mins



  • Fans of The Conjuring and The Conjuring-related films are likely popping big for this.

  • Do you love jump scares? Because The Nun has them in spades!

  • Because The Nun telegraphs every scare and stunt it attempts, if you have never watched a horror movie before, this might freak you out!


  • Incoherent in script and story, and completely pointless as a movie.

  • Jump scare movies need to end. Or, at a minimum, be strategic in their usage. The Nun could care less about intent and purpose, and just feels like one expensive YouTube scare tactic.

  • You may not see a more haphazardly constructed movie than this all year.


Incoherent junk, The Nun is the latest entry in something we now call The Conjuring Universe.

Oh. Neat.

Fans of the horror franchise likely recognize the Nun’s ghostly, demonic presence from The Conjuring 2 and what feels like a dozen other movies by this point. So naturally, who better than the Angry Demon Nun to earn an origin story?

I don’t make the movies folks.

We open with a prologue set in a convoluted, cavernous abbey in Romania, c. 1952. Two nuns, looking for a secret relic, are forced to open a door with a sign that roughly translates to “God Stops Here.” When one nun is sucked violently into the room, another goes all “Damien in The Omen,” and hangs herself.

The hanged nun is discovered by Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a shallow but amiable handyman, and once word of the nun’s suicide reaches the Vatican, Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) are off to stay in the abbey, interview other nuns, and research what led to the woman’s demise.

Honestly, that’s basically it. This “story” and “script” by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, It) succeeds only at generating silliness, nonsensical storytelling, and countless jump scares.

As you can imagine, Sister Irene and Father Burke soon find themselves dealing with evil forces, and witchcraft, and demonic possession, and soon begin seeing things which may or may not be real. Director Corin Hardy has no idea how to present or stage any of this is a meaningful way. And as one fellow critic pointed out, he seemingly lacks any ability to build a world and define “rules” within that said world.

And so, nothing makes sense.

Why doesn’t everyone just leave at the first sign of trouble? In the days that Burke and Irene are there, why is there no contact with the Vatican? What is the point in staying? Can you not just transport the nuns elsewhere and interview them in a safe location? Also, how did a little boy end up there vomiting up snakes?

Nevermind. Doesn’t matter.

The nicest thing I can say about The Nun is that cinematographer Martijn Van Broekhuizen captures some impressive imagery. However, with the film largely taking place at the abbey, with surrounding woodlands which look tossed together on a soundstage, and impossible-to-follow architecture within the abbey, The Nun feels like it is just disingenuously toying with its audience.

For 96 minutes, we sit there and watch people softly walking down endless hallways, cameras peering around walls, shadowy figures moving in the background and foreground, Father Burke looking grumpy, and Sister Irene growing increasingly weary.

And then we have The Demon Nun (Bonnie Aarons), in an ensemble and make-up design I swear was previously worn by shock rocker Marilyn Manson in the late-1990s, trying everything she can to make us spill our sodas and popcorn on the people around us.

The Nun has no faith in its premise, no conviction in its story, and no passion for its scares. It just exists and wastes everyone’s time. Worse, it renders any positives which may have come out of this whole The Conjuring franchise little more than distant memories, making this world something I see no reason to ever willingly revisit for a long, long time to come.


Starring: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Busu, Charlotte Hope, Jonny Coyne.

Director: Corin Hardy
Written by: Gary Dauberman (screenplay); James Wan, Gary Dauberman (story).
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Warner Bros.