After a hella long ass cold open we meet Aesha (Becca Hirani), a party dude with ‘tude (yeah so she’s female, whatever), and her mom who is having none of her booze soaked ways. So what does she do to make sure her daughter can get on the straight and narrow before she ships out to college? Why sending her off to a remote bed and breakfast so she can chill the fuck out of course. Sounds all fine and dandy…except the B&B was formerly a nunnery and before you can say “This film was re-titled to cash in on the Conjuring spin-off The Nun” an evil nun starts causing static…eventually. First Aesha is charged with looking in on the caretakers ailing daughter, and meets the French occupant of another property nearby who uses the main house for piss purposes. Why am I mentioning all this? I’m not sure really…Anyway, a nun appears, begins murdering people then begins showing up at our heroine’s doorstep! Will Aesha survive this unholy onslaught, and just who or what is behind it all?
First the positives The Bad Nun has to offer, starting with the great snow covered locations used for the film. These grey-skied wooded environments are suitably cold and foreboding, and make for a great sense of isolation which of course greatly serves the narrative conceit that Aesha is well and truly stuck where she is as the murderous chicanery begins (the ancient stone church and accompanying graveyard ain’t too shabby either). Speaking of Aesha, Hirani turns in a performance that actually makes the character quite likable (and nicely layered to boot). I was expecting a real foul brat that would be a chore to spend nearly 100 minutes with, but I was pleasantly surprised that was not the case. The titular baddie herself is a great visual as well; a faceless, knife wielding, habit wearing psycho…the film is basically a slasher flick with a nun as the stalk n’ slay antagonist…and this makes for an interesting villain for sure! There is also a nice amount of ramping suspense on hand as well, as the nun keeps trying to get Aesha to open that damn door, which we know would end badly indeed.
The main negative to this film isn’t in the film itself, rather it lies in it’s marketing. I’m all for making a buck, and it makes perfect business sense to title the film (originally called The Watcher) The Bad Nun thanks to the upcoming film I mentioned previous…but this film has nothing at all to do with that upcoming Hollywood title. The emphasis on The Bad Nun is one of suspense and slasher aesthetics, rather than paranormal goings-on…and the film is strong enough to stand on it’s own with out trick marketing. The only other negative is that once things get cooking, the twist may be easy to guess for some…but maybe that’s just me; kind of a subjective one that is.
If you are game for a solid slasher rather than a terror tale of the supernatural, then I say give The Bad Nun a go; it has a memorable villain, solid acting, and plenty of tension!