MOVIE REVIEW: The Nun hasn’t got a prayer
The collection of supernatural horror flicks now collectively referred to as The Conjuring Universe has spawned four films to date (two instalments of paranormal fustering under the banner of The Conjuring, and two stand-alone spookfests starring that creepy doll Annabelle).
Standards achieved so far have been consistently chilling for the most part, and the two billion-plus dollars grossed by the franchise bear this out.
So it comes as a shock that the latest member of The Conjuring Club, The Nun, leaves such a shoddy, shonky and shambolic impression compared to the rest of the terrifying team.
The title character first bobbed up briefly as a vicious demonic presence in The Conjuring 2, looking for all the world like the dentally challenged, mentally deranged sister of 90s rock star Marilyn Manson.
Now we get her origin story, which hauls us all the way back to a convent in 1952 Romania, where she greets all who enter with bared fangs, bad breath and awful housekeeping standards.
When word gets back to the Vatican that one of their own has swapped a vow of silence for a spree of violence, it deploys the best man of the cloth available to stop the evil rot.
Enter Father Burke (Demian Bichir), a stoic, not-so-charismatic priest who just might have the exorcise regime necessary to send this rogue sister packing.
But not before The Nun has Burkey buried alive in a nearby graveyard, bitten in the eyes by an angry python and sent flying into a wall by some finger-zapping trick.
As all hell breaks loose - very loosely indeed, as it turns out - Father Burke can only hope for the intercession of two young officers tagging along for the visit.
Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, sister of The Conjuring regular Vera Farmiga) is a novice nun whose purity, innocence and good looks keeps enraging the title character no end.
Lending a little bit of layman muscle to the battles ahead is a local lad named Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), who has also noticed Sister Irene and her good looks.
The banter between these three featured characters is both stilted and wilted in the extreme. In fact, the way they converse throughout The Nun is so strange and disconnected, it feels as if they are not entirely sure they are on a movie set, or are victims of an elaborate prank.
As for scares, the filmmakers just keep dimming the lights, shaking the camera, turning up the volume and hoping for the best.
All that is conjured before your eyes is one of the worst movies of 2018.
THE NUN (MA15+)
Rating: One star (1 out of 5)
Director: Corin Hardy (The Hallow)
Starring: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons.
Not habit forming