Quantcast

The Nun (Blu-ray Review)

Next to the Marvel Universe, the most successful current ongoing cinematic shared universe is the horror genre’s The Conjuring. It used to be a little secret, but now everyone is pretty aware of what they once quietly built off of James Wan’s original film based around Ed and Lorraine Warren. Making her big impression and debut in the sequel to The Conjuring, it is now the character of The Nun’s time to take lead in a film. Opening to huge box office and poor reviews, the film is now launching onto Blu-ray to slide up next to your Annabelle’s and your Warrens movies. Warner Brothers will be releasing it on standard Blu-ray on December 4th. It comes with some featurettes and a digital version of the film. There looks to also be a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release of the film, but that was not sent over for this review. The Conjuring 2 had a planned 4K Ultra-HD release around the time it hit home video, but you’ll remember was pulled. If you’re keeping stock on this universe in your collection, please use the Amazon link to pre-order yourself a copy today!

Film 

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

Following in tradition of Annabelle, the original Conjuring universe spinoff, The Nun achieves only at being some schlocky modern horror in her first entry. I’ll continue in the review and say some kind things about it, but this movie isn’t very good, as its not engaging and has an over reliance on cheap scares for its hollow narrative. However, if things follow like Annabelle, The Nun 2 should be a pretty terrific little horror movie.

The Nun has a really terrific setting and Corin Hardy manages to shoot it gorgeously. With how this film plays and looks, I would have offered his hand at a Harry Potter film. There is a good atmosphere with the film to go with scary imagery and figures. What doesn’t work is that the film is too polished in its look and performance. This looks almost too technologically advanced and clean which takes away from some of the terror in what look like some spooky static scenes.

This film feels like it loves and wants to infuse 1970s religious horror into its blood, but winds up with the trappings of being a finer tuned big studio film. I’m not knocking “studio horror” here at all. Its just that this is too fine tune and needed to be a much rougher production. The Nun needed to be a bit more exploitative, free with the camera and have a lot more (Sigh) grit to it. Had this same script been told a bit more ruthless and akin to something like The Sentinel or The Legacy, we may be talking a little more positively about it.

While I didn’t enjoy The Nun much at all, I did oddly find some good takeaways and seemed to understand what they were wanting to be, yet being the furthest thing from it. The performances are all quite solid. And I really think Bonnie Aarons has some unique talent as a monster and hopefully can have the opportunity to build a roster of characters and creatures in horror. Overall though, this just doesn’t come through. Unless you’re in it for some good boo scares and safe religious horror, then hey, this might make a solid rental on a boring evening. Otherwise, let’s old hope The Nun 2 plays like Annabelle: Creation.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Nun makes its debut on 1080p Blu-ray with a crisp, polished image that is rather sharp and full of some solid attention to detail. It carries a refined, rustic look, with natural colors, characters and objects that come off the screen quite nicely. The blacks are problematic during some key moments, making the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray version an instant decision (As if it wasn’t already if you are capable of running the format).

Depth:  Pretty solid depth of field presented here. Character movements and camera pans are smooth with no real motion distortion issues present.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty problematic and a bit inconsistent throughout. There are some crushing issues from time to time. There is a bigger moment down a dark corridor when the Nun reveals herself and she’s surrounded by nothing but crushing. Overall this is a really dark film and its portrayed most of the time pretty deeply, but there are moments in the film that have a bit brighter, grayer looking blacks. I don’t have the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray edition to see, but I would gather that this issue doesn’t occur on that presentation of the film.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t the most colorful film, but fire, red and some other brighter fabrics stand out. Natural colors come through pretty boldly and best you could ask for.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little cooler and keep the same appearance throughout the feature’s run time. Facial features like dried blood, scars, wounds, stubble, make-up and lip texture all come through clearly from most given camera distances.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Latin America), Portuguese

Dynamics: The Nun provides a Dolby Atmos track that sounds like a kid in a candy store eager to play with the format. It has no fear in utilizing every channel in the system and messing around with effective volumes. This is a loud booming track and one that keeps you on your toes at all times and amused by the fun its having. No, this movie is terrible, but the Atmos track they’ve provided on the disc is quite freaking awesome.

Height: Right from the first act, you get a loud bird come from over your left shoulder. The ceiling channel is pretty active nonstop throughout the film. One of the highlights is a scene where Demian Bichir is buried alive and you hear things going on above the coffin he rests in.

Low Frequency Extension: Destruction, jump stings, shovels pounding on ground to dig and rumbly soundscapes have your subwoofer hitting the ground running (literally) quite hard.

Surround Sound Presentation: As mentioned, unique sounds jump out from anywhere all throughout the movie. Motion is also rolling and quite effective all across the room.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. During louder moments, or ones where the ambient score consumes the room, the dialogue can be drowned out just a hair.

Extras 

The Nun comes with standard DVD edition and a digital copy. There’s a big yellow stick on the slip cover that wants you to know this release “Contains Spanish Audio”. So I suppose that’s a bonus?

A New Horror Icon (HD, 5:18) – James Wan, along with cast and crew talk about the character, nuns in general and why this creature from The Conjuring 2 is so scary.

Gruesome Planet (HD, 6:18) – This featurette covers the shooting location for the film.

The Conjuring Chronology (HD, 3:50) – The producers of the films go over the chronological order of the films, discussing the general stories of them and that they are capitalizing on an idea with the first film becoming a universe from the get go.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:18)

Summary 

I love the idea of The Conjuring universe and love that a movie like The Nun is representing horror and taking the box office by storm. However, the movie is super hollow and gimicky. It features a strong monster to go with good leads, but it ultimately can’t pull off a style it wants to be while also serving a more compelling story. The video for this Blu-ray features some problematic blacks at times and an AWESOME demo-like fun Atmos track. The extras here are fluff. If you truly need to own this, I recommend the 4K Ultra-HD version for the best performance and I also recommend you grab it at a bargain bin price.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “The Nun (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Quint

    There will definitely be a 4K release…..I already saw that someone got a review copy.