The film “The Conjuring,” directed by James Wan, has already solidified its place as one of the finest horror films of the 21st century. One can only hope that a century from now, it will be remembered as a classic in the horror genre. Wan’s approach to horror, particularly in conjunction with the second film, evokes memories of the golden days of Universal Horror and Hammer for us horror enthusiasts. Wan is undoubtedly a fervent aficionado of horror, prepared to construct a horror universe reminiscent of old classics, armed with a remarkable narrative canvas. However, it must be acknowledged that neither Annabelle nor Valak were able to fulfill their potential properly, despite their impressive introductions in the first and second films. Valak, in particular, who had the potential to become a formidable figure in the horror genre, regrettably squandered a significant opportunity through a lackluster movie.
In brief, let us delve into the plot… The Vatican dispatches a priest and a nun to a church in Romania for an investigation. This duo, assigned to look into the mysterious suicide of a nun within the church, finds themselves confronting a malevolence far more horrifying than they had anticipated, an evil that has been concealed for centuries. In their harrowing battle against this malevolence, they unearth truths about the church’s history and this sinister entity that no one else knew.
“The Conjuring,” produced in 2013 and 2016, are indeed highly successful films. Particularly, the creature known as Valak, central to the second film and whose name we later learn, was visually and thematically captivating. In “The Conjuring 2,” James Wan delivers a directorial masterpiece that will not be forgotten for years to come. Wan laid the foundation of the universe with meticulous direction, finely crafted storytelling, and a horror antagonist that will be remembered even in the distant future. Naturally, expectations were set high, mainly when news of a film focusing on Valak’s backstory emerged. However, the outcome, disappointingly, did not meet those expectations.
The fundamental issue with the film lies primarily in its backstory. In the case of the formidable Valak, who wreaked havoc in “The Conjuring 2,” I had expected a horrifying, bloody, and enigmatic backstory. Regrettably, the film failed to provide me with the mystery and astonishing impact I sought. While the film may adeptly utilize the horror genre, its narrative foundation, which I emphasize, is insufficient for Valak. Perhaps if it were another film with another cursed entity, it could have been impressive, but for Valak, who tore through England and invaded the dreams of the Warren family, a more potent, terrifying, and nightmarish backstory was imperative.
Director Corin Hardy does manage to infuse moments of tension, particularly within the church scenes. As I mentioned earlier, it is a film that accurately reflects its genre. However, the story is exceedingly weak, and far below expectations. I don’t necessarily have an issue with the narrative being somehow tied to Christianity, but the direct connection to Jesus at the furthest point in history is, how shall I put it, somewhat comical. Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet deliver commendable performances, even though the story holds them back. But I must admit that they deserved much more.
In summary, “The Nun” generated significant anticipation, at least for me. However, I couldn’t satisfactorily reap the rewards of that anticipation. While “The Conjuring 2” successfully transformed Valak into a horror icon, unfortunately, “The Nun” fails to provide the necessary and logical depth to an already iconic character. Though the film adeptly employs the elements of the horror genre, the progression of the narrative and its conclusion are notably weaker than expected. It didn’t truly surprise me. James Wan, while a director who manages to turn his vision into reality, doesn’t achieve the same level of success as a producer. While I was excited due to the subject matter being Valak, the fact that the film wasn’t his direct creation ultimately renders it ineffective.
Cast & Crew
director: Corin Hardy
writers: Gary Dauberman, James Wan
starring: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu
USA | 2018 | 96 MINUTES |