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The Nun (2018) - Blu-ray Review

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The Nun (2018) - Movie Review

3 stars

When it comes to matters of horror, religion will always be mined.  Life and death and the quest for what’s on the other side, right?

The Nun, the latest spinoff from The Conjuring series, has been spooking people with its trailers for quite some time.  The film; however, is not quite the well-polished and packaged house of haunts you might be expecting.  Which sucks, I know, BUT that does not mean the film is a total loss.  It isn’t.  The creep factor, thanks to its fog-soaked location in Romania, is very strong – in spite of all the needless jump scares – and makes for an entertaining night out at the movies and, for fans of The Conjuring series, another piece of the puzzle.

"For all of its faults, though, The Nun still gets my blessing."


American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga stars as Sister Irene, an American nun with the ability to see things, much like Lorraine Warren (Vera Farminga).  Set 20 years prior to the first Conjuring movie, Sister Irene's introduction here is to fight a very old demon.  She accompanies Father Burke (Demián Bichir) to investigate the supernatural (and deadly) events at Cârța Monastery involving two other sisters.  The discovery of a mysterious key and a dead nun sitting up right – when she was placed at rest on her back – leads to a closer look at the dark origins of the abbey. 

Turns out, the second World War and all its bombings woke an ancient evil from its place of imprisonment: Valak, the defiler, the profane, the Marquis of Snakes.  Perhaps you have heard of it before?

The abbey, full of dark and murky rooms, was built during the Dark Ages by a duke who was absolutely obsessed with the occult and the sisters there are praying nonstop.  They have to or else that which was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ will slip out into the world.  What they are protecting themselves from is truly terrifying and, with assistance from Jonas Bloquet as Maurice "Frenchie" Theriault, the escaped evil has a chance at being secured again. But can it be?

For about a third of its 90-minute running time, The Nun gets it right.  This production nails its gothic location with a shine toward rich details and heavy atmosphere.  We feel uneasy and almost always terrified.  But, when the jump scares begin to roll in, the footing on the slow burn front also slips.  What began as rich as say a Hammer film from the 1960s quickly crosses us with modern day gimmicks, proving that The Nun will not be the wraithlike film you want it to be. 

Screenwriter Gary Dauberman (It, and Annabelle: Creation) can set a stage well enough.  He can also wipe it clean with some unnecessary characters and clichés.  Thankfully, director Corin Hardy keeps a tight hold on the blasphemous reigns of this one.  The Nun, when it isn’t riding off the rails, excels at imagery exploitation – especially toward religious symbols.  Upside down crosses burst into flames.  Abbeys are turned into freak shows where ghost boys and demons float about.  We even get a moment where Father Burke gets buried alive!

The Nun (2018) - Movie Review

But, for every plus, the minus feels somehow greater.  Go in with the right attitude and you will be fine and probably enjoy the spirited events of the entity known as Valak has in store for you.  The connection to The Conjuring is also appreciated.  Full of some well-worn clichés, The Nun features what you have come to love and loath about the genre and this makes some parts of The Nun intentionally amusing.

For all of its faults, though, The Nun still gets my blessing.

The Nun (2018) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for terror, violence, and disturbing/bloody images.
Runtime:
96 mins
Director
: Corin Hardy
Writer:
Gary Dauberman
Cast:
Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Pray For Forgiveness.
Memorable Movie Quote: "What's the opposite of a miracle, Father?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.thenunmovie.com/
Release Date:
September 7, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Own it early on Digital on November 20 followed by blu-ray and DVD debut on December 4.
Synopsis: A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

The Nun (2018) - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray - Own it early on Digital on November 20 followed by blu-ray and DVD debut on December 4.
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH; French; Portuguese; Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; UV digital copy; Digital copy; Movies Anywhere; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Courtesy of Warner Bros. we get a 1080p 2.40:1 transfer of the film with Dolby Atmos-TrueHD 5.1 Master audio transfer of the film that represents the fifth visit to the Conjuring Universe.

The Nun is a very dark film with the vast majority of its scenes taking place inside the crumbling walls of a Romanian monastery. When we are above ground and out in the daylight, all is well as colors pop with crisp darks that hold detail while sun-drenched countryside springs to life in vivid color.

But it is within the darkest reaches of hallways, staircases, and unlit corners inside the monastery that the presentation fails to impress. Blacks are only dark gray at best and crushed to maximum levels leaving everything with a rather dull look and feel. And forget the colors down there. Other than flames, torches and fires which stand out quite nicely, the colors are seriously desaturated and not very impressive. To its credit there is not much unintended grain or noise, and artifacting is held to a minimum for the most part in spite of our opinion that the entire film seems as if it was overall lightened a few notches to enhance the details. This seems to be a running issue for Warner releases.

From the audio side of things, this is a spectacular handling and the perfect release to give your system the once over. Especially effective are the scenes which take place in the bowels of the castle as the Atmos kicks in and surrounds the room with spooky creaks and moans. Perfection! Be prepared to hold on when the jump cuts happen! Dialogue is handled expertly and while most takes place in the center channel, there is a nice working of the room as characters move about through the scenes.

Supplements:

Commentary:

While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

The disc gets some nice featurettes and a handful of deleted scenes.

  • First up is A New Horror Icon (05:18) - a talking heads discussion and making-of type deal in which director Corin Hardy, Taissa Farmiga, Bonnie Aarons and others carry on about the use of religion and specifically a Catholic nun as a new version of terror. Includes looks at storyboards, castles, monasteries, and some behind-the-scenes footage of filming the nun character including make-up.
  • Gruesome Planet (06:18) - Director Corin Hardy waxes poetic about the importance of filming in Romania. Gives us some nice looks at many of the castles and monasteries explored,, some behind-the-scenes footage of how filming was done inside the Corin Castle which becomes the film's main setting.
  • The Conjuring Chronology (03:50) - A cool little featurette that features James Wan and others exploring the chronology of the entire Conjuring Universe including the timeline and where The Nun fits into the picture and the original of this demonic new entity.


1952 - The Nun
1958 - Annabelle Creation
1970 - Annabelle
1971 - The Conjuring
1977 - The Conjuring 2

Deleted Scenes - seven scenes that didn't make the final cut

The Nun (2018) - Movie Review

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