‘The Nun’: A $200-Million Dank Meme In Movie Form

The Latest Entry In The Conjureverse May Not Be Scary, But It IS Loud

About an hour into The Nun, which last week was America’s most popular movie and this week is America’s second-most popular movie, one of the main characters gets buried alive by a ghost-demon that looks like a cloistered Montgomery Burns. The buried actor is Demián Bichir, best known in the U.S. for being one of The Hateful Eight and for playing a gardener who gets his truck stolen in a Chris Weitz movie that no one saw. Those films got him plenty of critical acclaim; this one will make him plenty of money.

A Scary Nun

Here, Bichir plays Father Burke, an exorcist sent to a dreary abbey in Romania to investigate the suicide of a nun. With him is Nun-in-Training Sister Irene, played by Taissa Farminga. When they get to Romania, they recruit Jonas Bloquet, who plays a French-Canadian nicknamed “Frenchie.” He’s handsome, makes a few jokes, and carries a shotgun. The three then do battle with The Nun. Along with the Live Burial set piece, other Scare Tropes include a brief flashback to an Unsuccessful Exorcism, Objects Fly Off Of Shelves, A Radio Turning On By Itself, some Ghostly Whispering, and some Loud Moaning, which might be the movie’s soundtrack. While The Nun isn’t scary, it IS loud, and it ends with something of a cliffhanger. It’s all very rote.

The poster for The Nun describes it as “the darkest chapter in The Conjuring Universe.” Full disclosure: I’d never before seen a Conjureverse movie. My 14 year old son, however, has seen all of them (there are, I believe, 22 movies in the Conjuresphere). When I informed him that I’d be going to see The Nun, his response was “that movie looks TIGHT.”

THE NUN(1/5 stars)
Directed by: Corin Hardy
Written by: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Demián Bichir, Jonas Bloquet
Running time: 96 min.


“Tight” is his go-to word to describe his current YouTube video of choice; he and his high school friends are Conjuring Content Consumers. And there’s the answer, I think, to the question of how the hell this movie, which cost $22 million to make, has grossed more than $200 million worldwide since its release, which is definitely some Nun 2: Back In The Habit math. The Nun isn’t so much a movie as it is a piece of Content, the end product of a marketing department’s creative brief. It’s unthreatening, easily digested, and as easily forgotten as a YouTube video; setting it in a mildewy old castle makes it a particularly dank meme.

How do you hold a dank meme in your hand?

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Jason Avant

Jason Avant is a writer and editor based in Carlsbad, California. He’s written for and edited a bunch of websites that no longer exist, and occasionally contributes to one that does: Roads and Kingdoms.

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