10 September 2018

Bad Habits Die Hard

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Set in 1952, The Nun begins in Vatican City with the resident priests having received some terrifying news. Although.. I went to Vatican City last year for a holiday and I can tell you that the only terrifying thing about that place is how much the bastards will charge you to let you in. Rather than being an upcoming police investigation into centuries of child abuse however, the priests are actually worried about a Romanian nun that has committed suicide. Suspecting that something sinister might be at play, they decide to recruit a humourless Bruce Campbell look-a-like to go to her monastery and discover the cause of her actions. I guess they assume that it's more likely that she was attempting to escape a demon than this simply being what happens when you ban people from fapping. In this particular case they also happen to be right with The Nun being the latest instalment in the shared universe of The Conjuring movies. If you liked The Sound Of Music but wondered if there was a film about nuns that you could watch that would be half as long but twice as fucking boring then this is the one for you!

So the Demon Hunter takes his trip to the monastery having decided to drag a young woman along for the ride with him. She's training to be a nun but not quite there yet and so is essentially whatever that mad cult's equivalent of a padawan is. When there they meet a prick called Frenchie who I think was meant to be both the film's comic relief and also its charming rogue. Sadly he was played by a guy who was about as charismatic as a petrified turd, and even worse at acting. If his character description was 'a dull arse-hole of a man' then I'd say fair play to him. And I suppose that at least in my desire to see his brutal death, I did have some engagement with him which is more than I can say for almost any other character in the whole fucking film. Once they arrive at the monastery the gang all look slightly fearful of it.. possibly because it's where the suicidal nun topped herself, or possibly because it looks like if Hogwarts had been turned into a fucking crack-den. If that wasn't enough to put them at unease then it seems that most of the film's budget has been spent on fog machines to give an eerie sense of dread. Although most of the time that the fog machine was switched on I was just expecting to see Cher hobble out like a broken robot as Abba played loudly on the soundtrack.

Having seen his previous film The Hallow, I'm more than aware that director Corin Hardy knows how to make a good horror movie. His love of the genre is evident here too with references to everything from the Hammer movies to The Exorcist. Although when all of the evil demon nuns show up, they're easily identified by the constant cracking of their bones... I wasn't sure if it was an exorcist they needed or simply a decent fucking chiropractor. However for all of the references and inspirations on display here, the one thing that he forgot to do was to make the thing fucking scary. I mean, there's a few scenes that are meant to be jumpy, but in a year in which Hereditary has been terrifying the world to its core, I'm just not sure that the odd loud noise is quite enough! I jumped the other day because the postman put something through the letter box and it made an unexpected bang when it hit the floor. That doesn't mean I'm afraid that of the postman, and mine has the very definite look of a rapist about him. One of the scariest scenes that doesn't involve a jump came near the end of the movie when all of the good nuns join up to try and chant the evil away. Not to sound too hard but I think that a horror movie is probably having trouble when it begins to remind me of Mr Popper's fucking Penguins. 

Also if you were actually hoping to see much of that evil nun from The Conjuring 2, then even she seems pretty absent from the film. I mea,n she shows up for a final showdown in which the hooded bitch turns up to force-push things around like we're watching a shit Emperor Palpatine spin-off. Whenever she does show up too, they attempt to build up a sense of dread by having a male choir hum over the soundtrack. Well, it's either that or she has a very deep sounding queef, I suppose? As cinematic nuns go though, I can't say that this one was any scarier than the prospect of another sequel to Sister Act and I really wanted to punch the baby-snatching bitches of Philomena a hell of a lot more than anything I saw here. Essentially the only way that you're going to consider this the scariest film of all time is if you're biggest fear is a modern adaptation of an old crusty Dracula movie but if they'd replaced the iconic vampire with a transgender Pingu. Sadly that's not my biggest fear, with the scariest nightmare I've ever had being the time I dreamt that somebody had done a poo in my bath tub and I didn't know who it was or why they'd done it!
I don't want you thinking that this film is a complete write off though. Of course there was literally no point in the film that I found scary, but there's at least enough of a sense that Corin Hardy is a fan of the genre to keep it from getting too boring. Although it is definitely more boring that it is anything else. I'm also not quite sure that including the Holy Hand-Grenade of Antioch was the best decision in terms of the films climax either. If they're going to include any references to Monty Python then surely it would have made much more sense to put the evil nun on trial by balancing her weight against that of a fucking duck's. Alas I do try to see as much at the cinema as I can and although by any other standards it'd be reasonable to assume that The Nun is a write-off, I'd say that I've seen enough shit to conclude that this was at least watchable. Perhaps it's on par with something like this year's Strangers: Prey At Night which tricked us into thinking it was shit before having a murder-off to Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart. And although that song didn't feature in this movie, I couldn't help but think of her other classic number, Holding Out For A Hero. It has almost no relevance to the film beyond my internal gratitude to whoever made the decision to keep The Nun to around just ninety-minutes long. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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