The Nun Movie: Video: Audio: Extras: Final Score: Movie Who would have though James Wan’s little low budget horror film, The Conjuring would have created such a spin off universe. After his breakout film Warner Brothers decided to make a complete universe out of the Ed and Lorraine Warren inspired film, and used little pieces from The Conjuring films to make their own side stories. I have to admit, Annabelle was a movie nobody asked for, but was made anyways, and Annabelle 2 was actually a decent horror movie in it’s own right. It didn’t have much but the most tenuous connections to the first Annabelle film, but it worked on it’s own. The Conjuring 2 was hyped to oblivion, but turned out to be not nearly as good a sequel to the original as we had hoped. HOWEVER, the minute we saw the evil nun picture from The Conjuring 2, it was almost guaranteed that we would see a spinoff regarding that creepy little painting. A few short years later here it is. A movie that was release midst near unanimous criticism, but one that actually made $45 million MORE than The Conjuring 2! Sadly, the criticism was real, and not just critics bashing a movie that was liked by the general public. The Nun is a genuinely horrible horror movie, and easily the worst film based off of The Conjuring universe by a very large margin. When a young nun in a Romanian convent is found having committed suicide by hanging herself out the window, the Vatican sends in a specialist named Father Burke (Demian Bichir) to see if the grounds are still “holy” by Church standards. Along with a young nun to be named Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, who is Vera Farmiga’s much younger sister) and a guide named Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), the good father investigates the castle turned convent for signs of demonic activity. Well, if demonic activity is what they were expecting to find, demonic activity is what they find. Upon arriving at the convent the two church members suspect something is off. The mother superior is speaking in cryptic riddles, and the nuns at the convent seem to be frightened of something. Due to the fact that it’s a holy day, with holy rituals, the two are forced to stay the night (seriously? We can’t all see where this is going) and wait it out until morning. As the night progresses Sister Irene and Father Burke are plagued by visions of their past, specters of the present, and a whole host of strange things that prove that this ground really isn’t holy anymore. The problem is, the spirit that is possessing these grounds is not about to let it’s victims escape, and what started out as a simple probing expedition turns into a fight for survival as Father Burke and Sister Irene do their best to contain the demonic powers before it’s unleashed upon the world. I really wanted to like The Nun due to my love of The Conjuring, and enjoyment of the Annabelle movies, but this is just a painful experience all around. What starts out as a good old fashioned religious horror film from the 70s, turns into a gigantic mess of slopped together scenes that really hold no sense of consistency or cohesion. Scenes are interjected at random and it REALLY takes brain power to try and put them all together. The laziness and generic feeling of the script is compounded by the fact that you don’t get much face time with the evil nun until the final 20 minutes, and the amount of sheer “slasher” level stupidity is just astounding. Every 5 seconds I was screaming at the screen “Don’t go in there!” or “why are you even here anymore?! don’t you know to never go into a darkened room where a freaking SPIRIT was there a few seconds ago”! Colin Hardy does do a fantastic job with the setting of the film though. The Romanian setting with the castle feels very 1970s ish in nature, and gives it a little bit of a creaky, Dracula like vibe at time. The old walls, the dripping wet stone castle, and the somber color grading is really effective at creating a world that exists outside of time, even though it’s supposed to be set in the 1950s. That being said, this is the ONLY good thing to say about the film, as the rest is a jumbled nightmare of silly acting, poor script writing, and direction that can only be described as haphazard. Rating: Rated R for terror, violence, and disturbing/bloody images Video: I couldn’t find out any video information on the picture outside of the fact that it was shot with Arri Alexa cameras. I’m not sure of the capture resolution nor the master’s resolution, but needless to say the Blu-ray is a bit problematic. The outdoor shots in daylight are actually quite pleasing, with great coloring throughout and sharp clarity. However, much of the movie is short in darkness and this is where the issues come into play. The black levels are horribly inconsistent, with smearing and ghosting all over the place, and some pretty heavy crush in some scenes. The weird thing is, that other dark shots look impeccable, while others smear faces with ghosting and juttery blur, robbing the image of significant amounts of detail. There are some great looking portions of the movie to be sure, and when the movie looks good, it looks REALLY good, but when the black level issues crop up (which are also pretty substantial), then it looks pretty crummy. I noticed that this has a “surprise” 4K UHD release, like Crazy Rich Asians did a few weeks ago. When we got the press release from Warner there was no mention of a 4K release, and even the bigger sites confirmed this. However, a 4K UHD pre-order showed up on Amazon and low and behold, on release date Walmart and Amazon showed stock of the film (and I confirmed by going into Walmart today when I was looking for some groceries for dinner). Strangely enough, The Conjuring 2 had a 4K UHD release planned for it a couple years ago, but then was suddenly yanked at the last moment. This time it’s the opposite. No 4K UHD release was seemingly planned, but at the last moment Warner decided to drop it on the market. Sadly the review sites seemed not to have been given the option to review the 4K disc, so the Blu-ray will have to suffice. Audio: The Conjuring movies and it’s spinoffs have had one thing in common that reins supreme. A killer audio mix. The Nun is ripe with a tremendous audio mix that is filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies. The dialog is always crisp and clean, with the mix never afraid to use all channels at its disposal. Soft whispering wind flickers about the sound stage, as does the moaning and groaning of the old castle/convent. Powerful waves of LFE slam the listener back into their seats as the ghosts roar, shriek and tear around the place, while the score ominously pulsates in the background. The experience is near deafening, as the surrounds, LFE and front sound stage play magically together, creating a 360 degree cocoon of sheer sonic assault and nuance. The little sounds make as much difference as the big ones do, as the mix isn’t just an assault. Those little creaks and moans shift around the sound stage at will, lilting and dancing around, creating as much audio confusion as the characters in the movie are experience. Voices are above reproach, and while the track really IS loud, it’s never unbalanced or uneven. One thing to note is that this is another track that falls prey to Warner’s habit of putting a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track AS WELL as the Atmos track on the disc, and it defaults to said 5.1 mix instead of the Atmos one. Which means for those who want to hear the 7.1 core or the full Atmos mix you will have to go into the menu and manually shift it over instead of just hitting the play button. Extras: • A New Horror Icon • Gruesome Planet • The Conjuring Chronology • Over 10 minutes of deleted scenes Final Score: The Nun had potential based upon past history with the franchise, and I understand where they were trying to go with the story, but the execution of the idea was nothing short of tragic in nature. The film comes across as a studio hack job, with a bigger budget and (sadly) higher box office return than any in the franchise. That may mean we have more of these movies, and I can only hope that they hire someone at least relatively competent to do the next one, as this entry was just abysmal. I hate to be the debbie downer for a franchise that I have generally enjoyed (and sometimes loved), but The Nun was literally painful to sit through. Warner’s Blu-ray release has some problematic video and decent extras, but once more, the audio mix is nothing short of sonic perfection. I mentioned this in my video score, but Warner seems to have done a last minute 4K UHD release as well as Blu-ray (just like what happened with Crazy Rich Asians), but those 4K copies seem to be limited to Amazon and Walmart right now, which is where you would want to go to pick it up if you were so inclined. If you’re not a rabid collector of all things in The Conjuring universe, then I would just skip this one and run the other way. Technical Specifications: Starring: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor Directed by: Corin Hardy Written by: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay), James Wan (Story By) Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English DVS DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish Studio: Warner Rated: R Runtime: 97 Minutes Blu-ray Release Date: December 4th, 2018 Recommendation: Skip It.