I begged and pleaded with everyone I know to come and see The Nun with me – everyone refused.
The movie poster alone made me want to cry – I attempted to watch the trailer three different times before I actually made it to the end.
In short, I was terrified of seeing this movie. It turned out, I had no reason to be.
Don’t get me wrong — The Nun is frightening. Demon-possessed nuns jumping out of darkness in Romanian convents inconveniently built on the mouth of Hell are indeed scary. And unless you’re somehow immune to being startled, you will jump and possibly even scream.
But it won’t scare you deep down in the bones. In fact, I spent a large portion of the movie laughing because the scares are so over-the-top they become funny instead of frightening.
This inadvertent hilarity is aided by a plot that’s ridiculous. After a nun commits suicide at a cloistered abbey in Romania, a priest with a past in the supernatural and a young novitiate are sent in by the Vatican to investigate – it’s basically Law and Order: The Vatican.
When they arrive they meet with the local man who found the Nun’s body and begin to learn about the Abbey’s haunted past. After spending the night in the convent it becomes clear to both of them something evil is afoot.
One of the nuns lets it slip the convent was built as a castle for a rich Duke hundreds of years ago, and the Duke used it to write a bunch of evil witchcraft books and open up a portal to Hell.
Luckily, just as the Hell mouth was opening a group of religious soldiers (of unclear origin) descended on the castle. They happened to have with them a vial of Jesus Christ’s blood (this is not a joke), which it turns out, can seal portals to Hell with a single drop.
After that, the Vatican thought it best to turn the castle into a convent and have nuns perform perpetual worship, praying 24/7 to ward off evil.
And that seemed to work, until a bomb shook the building during the Second World War. Apparently, the blood of Christ is no match for a cracked foundation. Since then the evil has been seeping in – tainting the convent and all who enter.
The Nun falls firmly into the so-bad-it’s-good category. The filmmakers are so aggressive in their attempt to scare you (possessed nuns, no possessed nuns who live on a Hell mouth, no possessed nuns that have snakes coming out of their mouths AND live on a Hell mouth!) that it negates everything genuinely frightening.
Had they shown an ounce of restraint this might have been a truly terrifying movie. Instead, we got one of the best comedies of the year.
Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia