I figured it was time to just go for it and check out a handful of the killer nun movies that have hit the market in the wake of Hollywood horror The Nun—which, not surprisingly, was a fricking mess. So are these indie alternatives any better?
A NUN’S CURSE (2020)
This is one of the latest killer nun offerings, but I’m covering it first because it’s sort of a warm-up to the other two films.
Two sisters, a geek, and a jerk (scream king Damian Maffei) are heading to a summer home. On the way they stop at a derelict prison where legend has it a nun killed a bunch of inmates before disappearing.
The setting is quite creepy, but with only four characters, they spend a good chunk of this short 73-minute movie just wandering around the prison discussing the legend and providing faux jump scares.
Some flashbacks to the nun doing the deed using communion wafers and wine make it clear why film treatments are usually used to distinguish past from present, while also creating ominous atmosphere. The flashbacks here are filter-free, blurring the lines because they feel just as current as the rest of the film. Felissa Rose plays the nun, and for me personally, her big horror queen presence somewhat softens the sinister mystique of the nun.
When we at last get to the slashing, the murders happen 1, 2, 3. Literally! Three characters are disposed of in about a two minute period (with practical effects. Yay!). There’s not even some poor sucker—a cop, security guard, thrill-seeking kids, horny couple, etc.—sneaking into the prison. Just a little of that in the first fifty minutes could have offered some organic scares and a body count.
However, we do get a good crotch shot.
Within the remaining 20 minutes the nun fun begins. The nun has possessed face and pops from around corners and out of shadows to offer genuine midnight movie scares as she terrorizes the final girl.
Although there’s a plot arc that develops around the main girl, I feel the slasher elements could have been beefed up earlier on.
CURSE OF THE NUN (2019)
I’m always thrilled when I begin an indie film and discover it is by the director of another movie I’ve already seen and liked. In this case it’s Aaron Mirtes, director of Clowntergeist.
Curse of the Nun does just what a nun horror flick needs to do. It’s non-stop action and thrills from start to finish.
A young woman moving out of a rental house begins to experience supernatural occurrences. The refreshing change here is that crazy shit happens in the house she’s leaving, not the one she’s moving into. Awesome!
Within a short time she’s being chased by a zombie-esque nun. She can’t escape the house, and the nun pursues her relentlessly for the entire film. It’s really like one full-length chase scene.
The two leads have great chemistry and deliver some humor as well. And the nun is nice and ghoulish and even fricking levitates. Eek!
Seasoned horror fans will definitely note a hint of The Sentinel in the film. Contemporary horror fans will notice a little Ouija board trick borrowed from the Ouija movies. I personally had a blast with this film and can’t wait to see what the director has in store for us next.
THE BAD NUN (2018)
The Bad Nun is like When A Stranger Calls Back meets The Strangers meets an all-time classic I can’t mention without giving away the movie. But the truth is, any horror fan who has seen it all should be able to predict every single thing that happens in this movie right from the start.
However, if you’re going to copy all the classics, copying them as perfectly as The Bad Nun does is the way to go. And if you’re a younger generation of horror fan, a lot of this will seem new to you.
Despite being a know-it-all, I was on the edge of my damn seat throughout this entire film. Plus, like any good horror movie, this one gives you numerous reasons to become furious with the main girl for making every dumb mistake in the book.
This is slow burn perfection. A young woman rents a room in a nice man’s house. Then he asks her to watch out for his sick child, closed away in a bedroom, while he goes out.
Once she’s alone, a nun comes knocking on the door, making up numerous excuses as to why she wants to come in. And she keeps coming back. I thought this perspective was going to be the death of me.
Every setup shot, every camera angle, and every bad decision by the main girl keep the tension sustained right up to the lengthy cat and mouse chase at the end. This was my kind of horror comfort food (especially when devoured with a side of popcorn and a cherry cola).