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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Nun is the fifth movie in the Conjuring franchise (which also includes The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, and Annabelle: Creation). Violence is quite graphic: Expect to see pools of blood, a river of blood, slashed skin, stabbing, dead bodies, bodies on fire, and blood-covered body parts. Characters die (both at others' hands and by suicide), and there's a scene with guns and shooting. The movie is also full of jump scares and scary images. Language is infrequent; there's a single use of "s--t," plus "God," "hell," and "Jesus Christ" in a faith-based context. There's brief flirting and light drinking (a glass of wine with dinner, beers in the local pub). This film sadly feels like a dashed-off quickie, without much effort put into it, but its characters and setting may still appeal to some horror fans.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE NUN, which takes place before the events of the Annabelle and Conjuring movies, a young nun kills herself by jumping out the window of her Romanian abbey. It's 1952, and the Vatican calls upon Father Burke (Demian Bichir) -- who's experienced in exorcisms -- and young, idealistic novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), who has yet to take her vows, to investigate. They get help from a local called "Frenchie" (Jonas Bloquet), who delivers supplies to the abbey. Father Burke and Sister Irene are asked to spend the night at the abbey, but strange things start happening almost immediately. Soon it becomes apparent that an evil that has lived in the abbey has been released. The visitors must find the key to sealing it up again before it's too late.
Is it any good?
Sadly, this fifth chapter in the Conjuring franchise is, despite a temptingly promising locale/premise, nowhere near as scary, inspired, or coherent as its predecessors. The Nun boasts a strong cast -- led by Oscar nominee Bichir and Farmiga (the younger sister of Vera Farmiga, who played Lorraine Warren in the two Conjuring movies). Early images of dimly lit rooms in the Vatican and the first glimpses of the haunted abbey bring to mind atmospheric chillers like The Exorcist or The Orphanage. But viewers' hopes are quickly dashed by the quick onslaught of jump scares (punctuated by sudden loud noises on the soundtrack) or characters waking up from "surprise" nightmares.
Most of the action takes place at night, so the filmmakers cloud everything with a grayish dimness, which allows the hastily assembled (or perhaps recycled?) digital effects to blend in. Scenes that could have been moody or scary then play out like action scenes, with characters wrestling zombie nuns/nuns with shark teeth or chasing demon-possessed boys through the woods, etc. After all the noise and scuffling, it turns out there really isn't much of a story here, nor much of a point. Perhaps worse, The Nun veers further away from the intriguing "true story" that inspired the original. Overall, The Nun feels dashed off, like a placeholder until the (hopefully) next real movie comes along.
Talk to your kids about ...
What's the appeal of scary movies? Why is it sometimes fun to be scared?
Do you agree with what Sister Irene says about the Bible being like "God's love letter to us" and that it's OK to ask questions and discuss different ideas? What would be the rationale to not do those things?
How does this movie fit into the Conjuring cinematic "universe"? Do you like ongoing, multiple-chapter movie franchises like this one?
- In theaters: September 7, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: December 4, 2018
- Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Jonas Bloquet
- Director: Corin Hardy
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: terror, violence, and disturbing/bloody images
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.