Thanks to the immense success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), just about every film studio has been trying to replicate the sure-success of having a vast shared universe of films. After all, if all their tentpole blockbusters were to share a single all-encompassing narrative, surely audience will be compelled to watch every instalment.
While the MCU’s success hasn’t been quite replicated, it certainly hasn’t stopped studios. Some franchises, like the DC films and Star Wars, somewhat makes sense given the nature of their fans and their often compulsive need to know every bit about the universe.
Then there are others that make less sense, like Universal’s “Dark Universe” which was supposed to contain the likes of Frankenstein, Mr Hyde, and even Tom Cruise!
At the very least, the Dark Universe’s action standpoint and commitment to original stories somewhat validates the need for a series of films contributing to a single franchise… somewhat.
Then there’s stuff like The Conjuring Universe which seems to have taken world-building lessons from the recent DC flicks (though at least none of the demons’ moms have been named Martha).
With the opening of The Conjuring, it was made clear that Annabelle would, at some point, be a story to discuss. Besides the frequent shots of that creepy-ass doll, its real world significance all but demanded a movie unto itself. Unfortunately, both Annabelle flicks (presumably the same can be said for the upcoming third instalment) pretty much fell flat and served to be little more than an unnecessary extension or an advertisement for The Nun.
As for the Nun, however, the character Valak was shoehorned into both The Conjuring 2 and for the purpose of, well, doing a spin-off on this character. Unfortunately, not only does The Nun not add any kind of gravitas or suspense to the universe, but instead spends its third act playing out like a charisma-less version of a The Mummy sequel down to laugh-inducing “scares” and a shotgun wielding dude dressed like Brendan Fraser.
The greatest sin, however, is one committed almost universally by all recent horror flicks is the underestimating of a good mythology. From the annals of Pazuzu to the revelation of Damien, good horror movies often come with less jump scares and more details on the evil at hand.
The Nun, following two movies of build up, gives all of a 30-second explanation that would have fit better in a National Treasure movie, following which the movie pretty much turns into an extended episode of Supernatural… or Scooby-Doo.
The Nun is out in all theatres… skip it and hope it’s out on Netflix soon.