Blu-ray Review: The Nun

A prequel to The Conjuring films, The Nun ends right before The Conjuring begins, making it also work as a stand-alone film. Set in 1952 in a small Romanian town, a delivery man finds a nun hanging from a noose outside a convent. Vatican officials send Father Anthony Burke (Demián Bichir)–who specializes in the supernatural–and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, Justice League Vs. Teen Titans) a young novitiate who experienced a series of mysterious, possibly divine visions as a child. Why send them? The Vatican clearly suspects that the suicide is more than just a tragic event. Given the creepiness of the convent, you probably will too.

Upon reaching the building, Burke and Irene quickly realize something is wrong with this place and find themselves under siege by the demonic being within its walls. With little more than their faith and the unnatural powers that Irene possesses, the duo must learn the truth about this creature to have any chance of defeating it. But, is it already too late?

Directed by Corin Hardy, the narrative is a little silly, but serves the film’s main interest of creating a creepy,  gothic atmosphere. Fog blankets the exteriors at night and can often be seen during the day. Fans of old-school Hammer horror will appreciate the detailed production design. Unfortunately, in a case of style over substance, nobody seems to have taken anything in the film too seriously; nor should viewers. There’s little explanation as to why all this evil exists, with various creatures able to defy the laws of physics one moment, only to be eviscerated by an ordinary shotgun the next.

Farmiga and Bichir are reliable protagonists, but the characters aren’t developed enough to succeed. While the first half of the film indicated a desire to deliver a solid story, by the we start to figure out what’s going on in the abbey, things make less sense, as jump scares dominate the plot. In many ways, the first half feels like an entirely different film. I can’t help but wonder if  The Nun would have been a better film if it didn’t have the the connection to The Conjuring films. Yes, it works on its own, but the second half is forced and muddled. Perhaps, by the weight of expectation?

Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer replicates the gray, gothic environs very well. The color palette is orange and teal, with an emphasis on the blue side of things.  The atmosphere in the abbey is so dreary, that skin tones occasionally have a blue tint. Definition is solid throughout the presentation, blacks are dark and inky–though they could look a bit thick in some low light situations. There are no apparent print flaws or digital anomalies.

The Dolby Atmos True-HD track creates a truly immersive experience. Whether it’s crows in the cemetery, or lamps, tables, and more moving around the abbey, the creepiness of The Nun envelops the viewer. The dark, dreary score by Abel Korzeniowski further sets the mood. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout. English, Spanish and French subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • A New Horror Icon (HD, 5:18) Cast and crew discuss the character, religion, and why this ‘creature’ that debuted in Conjuring 2 is so scary.
  • Gruesome Planet (HD, 6:18) A look at the locations for the film.
  • The Conjuring Chronology (HD, 3:50) The producers discuss the chronology of the films, their plots, and the original idea to create a universe around the first installment.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:18) Seven in total.
  • DVD of the film.
  • Digital Copy.

Movie title: The Nun (2018)

Director(s): Corin Hardy

Actor(s): Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, Bonnie Aarons, Jonas Bloquet, Charlotte Hope , Ingrid Bisu

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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