Director: Scott Jeffrey
Writer: Scott Jeffrey
Producer: Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca J. Matthews
Stars: Becca Hirani, Thomas Mailand, Tiffany-Ellen Robinson, Cassandra French, Lucy Chappell, Patsy Prince, Mika Hockman
A young woman on a weekend holiday uncovers a sinister connection between her bed and breakfast and a mysterious nun.
So there’s no misunderstanding about what my assumptions were, let me be clear that I went into “The Bad Nun” with a smirk, fully anticipating a low-rent knockoff of The Conjuring universe’s “The Nun” that would be cheap and cheesy, but hopefully ironically enjoyable as an “I can’t believe someone made this” lark. I never expected it to be “good.” But I wasn’t prepared for it to be as bad as it really is either.
Let me also forewarn that there are spoilers ahead, although you shouldn’t be too concerned. For one thing, every plot turn is telegraphed to the point that the script ought to be printed on Western Union letterhead. More importantly, you shouldn’t watch this movie, so spoilers are irrelevant anyway.
To its surprising detriment, “The Bad Nun” isn’t a mockbuster of “The Nun.” The yellow-eyed ghoul wearing a habit on the poster art? Yeah, not in the movie. “The Bad Nun” is actually a threadbare slasher with no supernatural element whatsoever that was previously titled “The Watcher.” I doubt “The Nun” ever influenced it at all. It seems likely someone simply saw that the killer disguises himself as a nun and took the easy opportunity for a piggyback cash-in with a name change.
While we’re here, let’s add a note about how lame “The Bad Nun” is for a title. Not even “Evil Nun” or “Demon Nun” or something similarly sinister with more zip on the lip? I suppose “Boring Nun” would have been too on the nose.
If you’re familiar with the North Bank Entertainment output of Andrew Jones, which isn’t something you want to be if you’re not, “The Bad Nun” aesthetically looks and plays a lot like one of those quickie shot-on-digital “Robert the Doll” movies (review here). By that I mean it is distinctly British, populated by a small number of unknown actors, predominantly confined to one drab location, and laboriously drawn out to a 90-minute length its slim story doesn’t come close to needing.
Following a 12-minute prologue whose only purpose is to conclude on the first of just three kills that occur over the course of the film, we’re finally introduced to our lead. University student Aesha hasn’t been handling her dad’s death or her studies very responsibly. Concerned about getting Aesha back on track, her mother’s solution involves sending Aesha away for a weekend at the most isolated, bland, and plainly uninteresting bed and breakfast imaginable.
Maybe a weekend without anyone else, anywhere to go, or anything to do will help clear her head? Aesha’s agenda includes a six-minute jog with a stop at the church across the street, six more minutes of texting and eating pasta while watching “Mother Krampus” (review here) on a couch, and assorted chores like sweeping up broken glass on the floor. You know, vacation stuff that she couldn’t do at home and that audiences enjoy watching.
Halfway through the runtime, a mysterious nun shows up at the B&B house, where Aesha is left alone, suspiciously asking to be let inside. Who might this person be? Well, the only characters besides Aesha are her mother, her best friend, and Dan, the odd stranger running the establishment. I’d make fun of how silly it is to even pretend like the killer nun’s true identity is a question, except it’s so obvious, I can’t say for certain that the movie truly believes it’s fooling anyone.
If you’re still awake by this point in the plot, there’s only one more kill to come in the following 45 minutes of bland cat-and-mouse shenanigans. “The Bad Nun” gets a single star as a score because it more or less has the basics of a “real” movie covered. Scenery is always blah and lighting is always flat, but the camera usually takes positions that at least appear thought out and those shots are edited competently. It’s the fact that such scenes are so devoid of action or entertainment that remains the problem.
There are certainly worse no-budget cheapies out there, although “The Bad Nun” gives them a run for their money in the “why did I watch this?” department. Simply stick to the advice offered earlier and don’t see this movie. Unless it’s already too late, in which case, welcome to our collective misery.
Review Score: 20