‘The Nun’: A lacklustre spin-off of horror films (IANS Review, Rating: **)

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Film: “The Nun”; Director: Corin Hardy; Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Charlotte Hope, Michael Smiley, Ingrid Bisu, Sandra Teles, August Maturo, Jack Falk, Lynnette Gaza; Rating: **

“The Nun”, is yet another spin-off of a horror film that’s not exactly inventive or frightening.

Set in 1952, the narrative beings with the para-psychologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who had famously invented the so called Amityville hauntings of “The Conjuring” series, reveal that one of the paintings, hanging on the walls of their Connecticut home, is spooky.

Lorraine discloses: “I had a vision in Amityville, I had a premonition of your death. The demon in the painting, is real.”

With not much ado about the painting or how the demon got into it, we are transported to remote Romania, where in a haunted cloister convent, a nun hangs herself after being chased by a maleficent spirit.

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After her body is spotted by Frenchie (Jomas Bloquet) a resident of Biertan, a village close to the convent, the Vatican is perturbed. So, they send a Spanish priest Father Anthony Burke (Demian Bechir) and a young novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to investigate the happenings there.

The three along with the nuns are subjected to trauma by a series of sub-standard iteration of horror tropes with no cause and effect sequences but just effects, random and unjustified.

The bulk of the narrative is taken by the apparent killings of the nuns who live in the monastery. Some are burnt, blown or thrown off in a series of oddly timed events. Add to that, the falling of the skulls and the presence of ghastly zombie-like spirits, make the entire narrative more amusing than horrifying.

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Between the screaming of the nuns, banging of the walls, creaking sound of the doors and the gushing sound of the wind that creates the haunting crescendo, you tend to hear the yawn of the audience and squeaking of the restless chairs in the auditorium. Seriously, all scares are shallow, dismissible and lack credibility. The story line has more holes than the plot.

The three lead performers are all convincing in their histrionics. But it is the charming Bloquet who lightens up the screen with his suave presence and much needed comic timing.

While technically the film is astutely mounted with excellent production values, camera work, sound design and art direction, the devil in the film is missing.

(Troy Ribeiro can be reached at [email protected])

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