While director Corin Hardy’s The Nun is the fifth movie in the Conjuring universe, it is the first movie chronologically and explains the glimpses of the Nun seen periodically in the earlier films. Knowing that the Nun will survive to be seen in other Conjuring movies, the audience is aware that the heroes of this movie do not succeed in banishing her. However, simply hoping that the protagonists survive their trip to the cursed abbey in Romania is enough to keep spectators on the edge of their seats.
The Nun is neither the scariest nor the least frightening of the horror movies in this franchise, running in the middle of the pack. It earns its R rating by providing plenty of jarring violence and haunting images that are sure to disturb viewers for some time to come. There is a lack of suspenseful build up but the jump scares are good, and the eerie imagery is outstanding, supported by an engaging cast of characters.
There is a priest and a young soon-to-be-nun who have been sent by the Vatican to investigate the suicide of a nun in a secluded abbey. They are joined by Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a helpful French Canadian who found the dead nun at the entrance to the abbey when he arrived to make his usual food delivery. The priest, Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and the young postulant, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), have been selected because of incidents in their pasts. Throughout the movie Father Burke keeps walking toward the horrors, an action which generally seems foolish but, in this case, one understands that this is his job; he is the man who has been chosen to face the unnatural. Sister Irene realizes that her past has prepared her for this crisis and faces the uncanny events with the hope that she is there for a reason. Frenchie is chivalrous by nature and refuses to leave the others when he knows they need help.
As for location, Corvin Castle in Romania may not always be surrounded by hundreds of crucifixes to keep the evil in, but it was thoroughly creepy when dressed up that way for The Nun. The Carpathian Mountains (home to Vlad the Impaler, the original Dracula) are an appropriate setting for a search for ancient evil.
The Nun does a good job of rounding out the storyline of the Conjuring movies and provides plenty of scares along the way.