Tag: corin hardy

The Nun

The Nun (2018)
★ / ★★★★

Something has to be done with these horror movies that are so reliant on CGI, the filmmakers who helm these projects forget that the horrific experience they strive to create must be rooted in something genuine and convincing. It goes without saying that “The Nun,” written by Gary Dauberman and directed by Corin Hardy, is yet another generic would-be fright flick, a product created simply because “The Conjuring 2” was successful financially. There is nothing scary about; it merely offers a series of loud noises designed to make the viewer jump but they prove ineffective because those in charge do not understand how to build suspense and tension.

It is unfortunate because Taissa Farmiga, who plays a Catholic novitiate accompanying a priest (Demián Bichir) in a Romanian abbey following a nun’s apparent suicide, is quite watchable in the role. Those saucer eyes are so mysterious, they are perfect in a film that takes place inside a dark castle where bizarre events occur come sundown. But the writing does not give the performer any sort of justice. Sister Irene is reduced to yet another heroine to be terrorized and nothing else. I’m still waiting for Farmiga’s breakout film role because I am convinced she has the makings of a performer who can do great work for decades.

The supposed scares are as typical as they come. There is a strategy so played out, that by its third or forth execution, viewers with an IQ of above fifty can predict when the jump scare will materialize. For instance, the camera’s subject encounters a hooded figure from a few feet away. In order to get a better look of the figure’s face or countenance, the subject reaches for an object, like a candle or a lantern. Naturally, the camera’s perspective follows where the subject is looking. When the camera returns to the spot where the figure was found originally, it is no longer there. Three beats pass. There goes the deafening noise. Of course the jump comes from behind the subject. It is boring and uninspired.

Given such ineffective repetition, I wondered if the filmmakers became bored of themselves. I wondered if they still considered themselves artists when they fail to even strive to create something new or exciting. I wondered if they were in it only for the money or experience. Yes, giving us bottom-of-the-barrel material should be considered a personal affront. It is an insult to us because they waste our time, money, and attention.

They even fail to create a convincing sense of place. Here is a story that takes place in a castle, commanding such a Gothic style of architecture from the outside that even when it is daylight there is a foreboding feeling about the milieu. And so we cannot wait for the characters to explore inside. But what happens? The characters end up being in the same place. We get to see only about ten percent of castle—which is a mistake not only because the scares are redundant, the images themselves become repetitive, too. Furthermore, these same rooms look like a set. Look at the candles closely. Those are electric, those cheap ones from the dollar stores.

“The Nun” is so uninteresting to me, I began counting how many times I yawned throughout the film: twelve times. It is so dull, I began to count how many hours of sleep I had the night before: eight hours. And it is so devoid of artistry, of craft, of intelligence, I lost track of the number of clichés it dared to commit. I stopped at about fifteen.

The Hallow

The Hallow (2015)
★ / ★★★★

Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Clare (Bojana Novakovic), along with their infant son, moved from the city to a remote Irish town. A month into their residence, the couple begins to experience strange phenomena in and around the house. Initially, they believe these are merely pranks, ways to scare them off, because their neighbors have been less than subtle in expressing how they feel about the couple moving into the house by the forest. After all, the town is highly superstitious, convinced that the forest and everything around it belongs to the Hallow.

“The Hallow,” also known as “The Woods,” fails as a horror film because the screenwriters, Corin Hardy and Felipe Marino, neglect to provide the required exposition in order to get everybody on the same page. As a result, those who are not familiar with Irish folklores are likely to end up very confused, wondering exactly the title means as increasingly chaotic events unfold. Imagine being dropped in the middle of a shootout of an action film and you try to make sense of the motivations of those involved. Since there is no context, what reason do we have to invest in the story and its characters?

About two-thirds of the scenes take place as night. Just about everything is hidden in the shadows—even when we are indoors. Due to its monotonous approach, one gets the impression that the environment is artificial. Thus, when the creatures from the woods appear, they are not particularly scary. Instead, they look like people wearing monster suits and makeup, making grunting and screeching noises. I grew bored by the chases.

Plenty of basic questions remain unanswered. There is an unfriendly neighbor who drops off a book in order to provide the couple an idea about what they are up against. What exactly is in the book? Adam claims it is merely a book of fairytales and it is dismissed almost immediately. The book ought to have been used as a tool to get the audience on the same page—literally. What is a Changeling? I knew the answer from the moment the name is mentioned, but what about those who have no prior exposure to the word? Yet another question: Why wait until Adam and Clare have been living in the house before forcing them to leave? Why not attack them a week into their residency?

The so-called scares are most pedestrian. Prior to the goblin-like creatures revealing how they look like to the trespassers, we hear snarling from the shadows in the woods, off-screen destruction of a room, and black sludge dripping from various surfaces. These are tolerable because there is at least a sense of rising action. But after the initial full-on attack, we are subjected to many screeching, screaming, and nonsensical violence. The screenplay is so uninspired, eventually the couple are pitted against one another.

Directed by Corin Hardy, “The Hallow” shows some promise during its first fifteen to twenty minutes but it runs out of creativity as the story goes on. In addition, there is a lack of energy in how scares are executed so we feel every second that trickles by during its unrelentingly slow pacing. Irish folklores are so interesting and so out there at times, but this terrible film makes a bore out of them.