Horror movies are known to be formulaic and are often criticized for using many of the same tropes that have plagued the genre for years. “The Nun”, directed by Corin Hardy, is not free of this criticism. For the most part, the plot, the setting, the visuals, the scare tactics, and even the antagonist stray very little from the standards of the horror genre.
The location of this film is similar to many others. In 1952, an investigation into an attack on 3 nuns is launched by the Vatican. There are many horror movies that use religious themes and imagery as subject material. Being set in the 1950s in an isolated monastery allows the plot to progress without any outside influences (such as police) being involved. Dark passages, tunnels, and rooms fill the screen in nearly every scene, giving any scene the possibility of a jump scare.
One of the largest criticisms of horror movies is an over-reliance on jump scares to shock the audience into feeling fear without actually having to creatively create a sense of terror. “The Nun” has no shortage of these jump scares. Without a demonic nun jumping out at the protagonists every few minutes, there would be very little to actually make the audience feel horrified.
That being said, there are several very positive elements of the film. One of these is the decision to use lesser-known actors for all the roles. This creates more immersion in the film than when a well-known actor, such as Chris Pratt, is in a movie like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” By casting unknown actors and actresses, the viewer can focus on the action on screen instead of trying to suspend disbelief as they watch a well-known face perform. The acting itself is quite convincing as well. Unfortunately, the script gives very little for the actors to work with.
Without giving too much of the plot away, all that can be said is that fans of horror movies will feel like they have seen the events of this film dozens of times before. Where the film excels, it is like finding a diamond in a pile of mud. “The Nun” is not a bad movie; it simply fails to do anything new for fans of the horror genre.