One of my favourite hobbies is movie watching. I love the art of story-telling, but I also appreciate the effort that goes in to making movies and special effects and stuff like that.
So recently, while I had some free time, I streamed a movie called "The Nun". It's apparently part of the same universe that The Conjuring and Annabelle is in, though I haven't seen any of those films, though I don't mind supernatural horror - one of the things about supernatural horror is that, like sci-fi, you can make up any number of fantastical and unrealistic plot devices and write it off as "supernatural mechanisms".
I didn't mind the movie. Sure, it's not going to win any Oscars, but it's also not winning any Razzies.
Here are some thoughts I had about the film:
1. It doesn't bash Christianity.
It's one of the few mainstream movies around the puts Christianity, and especially Catholicism, in a positive light. This is actually refreshing.
Yes, I am an atheist, but I also do feel that Christianity/Catholicism have become VERY easy targets for mockery, to the point that I feel it's lazy scriptwriting and I'll roll my eyes.
Some examples of this were: the powerful effect of the blood of Jesus, the power of prayer, the idea that taking vows was a serious thing, a church being built over a portal to hell to try contain the evil within.
2. "Frenchie"-Ex Machina.
There's one point about 2/3 through where the nun and the Father have descended to underneath the church (itself a classic storytelling trope) and they're about to meet their end, but the other main character - a French-Canadian nicknamed "Frenchie" - comes back in the nick of time to vanquish the demons (with a shotgun, no less)
This really felt like a deus ex machina moment, but in a way that took away from the story. There was almost an Indiana Jones-like feel to Frenchie in this particular scene, but a poor imitation thereof. While Indiana Jones was a comedic adventure where DEM actually adds to the silliness and fun, in this movie where two people are struggling to keep the second most powerful demon at bay, it doesn't work too well.
3. "Frenchie" as an expository mechanism.
One other function Frenchie serves as is expository - the average audience may not get the Catholic jargon and mindset, so Frenchie serves as the audience where the two main characters who are steeped in Catholicism have to explain to Frenchie (i.e. the audience) what is happening and why.
4. Frenchie as a plot device.
Frenchie also serves as a link between this film and the other films in the same universe. However, what I'm not too happy about is the fact that Frenchie becomes possessed in the end despite the demon being vanquished by the blood of Jesus - shouldn't the fact that the demon was vanquished also destroy any remnants it had tried to infect people with?
Because there was one point where the novitiate nun was possessed as well, but for some reason she ends the film perfectly fine.
5. Why do evil spirits come up with the most convoluted ways to kill people?
Among some of the methods they come up with - powering up a radio to play jazz (despite there being no electricity, which begs the question: why is there a radio in the room in the first place); creating apparitions of praying nuns to encircle one of the main characters; creating a hallucination of a boy from the priest's past which magically shot a snake out, causing the priest to fall backwards into a coffin that is INSTANTLY covered over.
I give the movie a rating of 7/10 - the special effects were quite cool, a kinda fun way to waste 90 minutes (especially if you like supernatural horor), and I'm glad it didn't turn in to a Christian-bashing exercise.
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