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3.12.08

The Nun (2005)


Original title: LA MONJA

Director: Luis de la Madrid
Starring: Anita Briem, Cristina Piaget, Paulina Galvez, Lola Marceli
Released by Lions Gate

A group of teens at a Catholic boarding school are tormented by a deranged nun. When the girls accidentally kill the nun, they dump her body in a lake and vow to never speak of the incident again. No big shock when years later the ghost of the psycho nun returns to seek vengeance upon the now grown-up girls and their offspring. The cookie-cutter plot is forgivable when a movie looks as good as this one does; there was no expense spared in making THE NUN a gorgeous looking film that drips with atmosphere. Brian Yuzna's Fantastic Factory (who produced this film) have a knack for making a shoestring production look like it cost ten times what it really did. The cast is attractive and believable; a welcome alternative to the cliched batch of teenage stereotypes that litter similar Hollywood-created films. Extra points for providing a number of gory thrills, which are rare in an era that has been dominated by PG-13 rated "horror lite". It's nice to see a fright flick that doesn't shy away from the grue.

The biggest problem here is with the killer nun herself. At times the digital creation is very effective, and at other times is so phony looking that the creature is almost comical. In some scenes the nun appears to be so tiny that she could easily be swatted away without too much trouble,which is probably not the what the filmmakers intended. And when I say she is digital, she is VERY digital. It IS a real actress, but she is superimposed into the action in a very distracting way. I can't articulate it very well, but you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. The other glaring flaw here is in the pacing. I couldn't tell if THE NUN was a rush job, if it suffered from a choppy script, or if chunks of the film were left on the editing room floor. Again, it's a problem that I am incapable of adequately describing-- the film does not flow, it limps.

THE NUN has enough good qualities working in its favor to deserve at least one viewing. Don't expect a masterpiece, though. While it is a fun monster flick, it's not hard to see where it could have been much, much better.

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