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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Beware of The Nun

The Nun is by far the most suspenseful and scariest movie that Ive seen this year.

 I think the only times that I wasnt scared or screaming was when I had eyes closed or when I had my hands all over my face.

 It has all the ingredients of a suspense horror movie. It was  never boring and succeed in scaring the shit out of me.

I swear, I dont want to get near a nun anytime soon.  The only downside to all these scary moments was that by the end of the movie I just wanted to kill Valak altogether.

Please bring someone braver with you when you watch this movie.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

A young nun at an abbey in Transylvania has committed the ultimate sin: taking her own life.  Now it is imperative that the church determine if the ground is still holy, or if evil has compromised the Abbey of St. Carta.

To address the dire situation, the Vatican enlists the expertise of Father Burke, a clergyman from Philadelphia and one of only a few skilled in testing the validity of miracles and darker phenomenon.

Safran reveals that the role of the cleric was written with Mexico native Demian Bichir in mind, noting, “We knew we needed somebody who would embody the gravitas that Father Burke would have to possess, but who could also convey a man struggling with his faith.  Demian is a brilliant actor who played each facet of the character believably.  We all loved him from his previous work so, truly, he was the first and only call we made.” 

Describing his role, Bichir says, “Father Burke is a man of faith and a demon hunter who believes it is possible to save the world one demon at a time.  He is a fighter on different fronts; however, he is also haunted by his own demons, and that is the real battle he faces every day of his life.”

The last time Father Burke dealt with the demon hunting aspect of his priestly duties, a terrible tragedy occurred.  Almost a decade has passed, and he still maintains a safe distance between himself and the investigative fray because he is still deeply conflicted by those disturbing events.  Despite his unease, Father Burke is bound to comply with the Cardinal’s wishes.

“Once you take your vows, you’ve promised to be God’s soldier for life,” says Bichir.  “As a soldier you don’t contradict orders; you don’t refuse any call.”
Regardless of his own reservations, Father Burke is committed to the task at hand.  To prepare, he dusts off his WWII chaplain’s kit containing his spiritual tools—holy water, a silver cross necklace, a crucifix and Bible—and sets out on the uncertain road ahead.  At the direction of the Vatican, joining Father Burke on the quest, is Sister Irene, a novitiate at St. Vincent’s Hospital in England.

Taissa Farmiga says, “I think Sister Irene believes this is going to be a straightforward mission.  She doesn’t know how extreme this journey will be, or what kind of emotional strength she will have to muster.  And I don’t think she was ready for the evil existing in the abbey.”

Bichir notes, “At first, her size fools Father Burke, but even though Sister Irene is petite and may look fragile, he learns she can be feisty and I think Father Burke admires that.  Sister Irene is very strong because her spirit is strong.”

Like Father Burke, Sister Irene also has a past littered with pain, and while her troubled youth may have led her to the convent, it is also why she has yet to take her vows.  “She is also dealing with inner demons,”

Farmiga observes.  “As a child, she had visions and dreams that haunted her.  As a young woman, the church had welcomed her and encouraged her to devote herself to God by becoming a nun, and she willingly followed that because as she got on that path, the visions faded away.  But she never really got an answer for them, and I think the reason she was so open to going on this journey was finding the truth.  She is questioning her future, asking: ‘Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?’” 

The shadow Sister Irene’s doubt casts on her faith is a feeling Father Burke understands all too well, and the director loved the yin and yang of the two characters.

“Father Burke is this slightly eccentric, grizzled priest,” says Hardy.  “There is a kind of fatherly quality in the stern way he cares for Sister Irene. 

 He had this shattering experience in his past, and he can’t let anything like that happen to her.  He’s desperate to keep her from perishing, both physically and spiritually.  Sister Irene is na├»ve and unsure, and as she endures this ordeal of fear she has to find her strength.

“Their charisma, individually and as a unit, really comes through in Taissa’s and Demian’s performances,” Hardy continues.  “There’s a truth and an authenticity in their acting.”

Maybe a little too much authenticity.  Farmiga invested so deeply in her character that she actually battled nightmares over the course of the production.  Hardy offers, “Taissa is an incredibly gifted actress and in creating the fear her character goes through, she was constantly faced with these terrifying visions and traumatizing moments.   She really went the distance in getting Sister Irene to respond the way she does, so the audience can feel it too.  I’m indebted to her for that.”

Farmiga responds, “Working with Corin was amazing because he’s so artistic and creative and was so good at getting to the emotional fear.  It’s not just plain fear.  What else is driving it?  Is there a sadness?  Is there a longing?  He’s so passionate about everything and he seems to have such a sweet soul…until he suddenly puts a picture of a demon nun in your face and you’re like, ‘I didn’t know your mind was capable of such terrible things,’” she teases.

Although the Vatican had assured Father Burke that Sister Irene had experience in the region, she informs him that she has never set foot there.  And that is not the only mystery they must unravel, either within the castle or about each other.  Both are still living with things in their past that make them vulnerable to whatever force it is they are facing.  But it also creates a bond between them.

Likewise, the two actors bonded during their time on location in Romania.  “You don’t have months to connect on a film; you have to do it right away, so I was lucky I had Taissa,” Bichir shares.  “I admire her so much.  She has such wonderful qualities, not only as an actor but as a person.”
The admiration is mutual.  “Demian is such a funny guy, he has a big personality,” says Farmiga.  “He’s full of life and energy and love for everything,” she comments.  “As an actor he is incredible and brought so much emotion to Father Burke.”

As Sister Irene and Father Burke depart Rome and leave the modern world of 1952 behind for the small village of Biertan in Transylvania, it is as if the clock has turned back and they are entering the Medieval ages.  A dirt road is the main thoroughfare and their guide’s mode of transportation is a horse-drawn wagon.

Frenchie, as he is known in town, is a local and can take them to the abbey.  He is also the unlucky soul who discovered the suicide while delivering supplies there.  Frenchie informs them he was wary of the abbey, just like the rest of the townspeople, long before he found a body there.

Filmmakers cast French actor Jonas Bloquet to star as the superstitious French-Canadian.  A self-described “huge fan” of both “The Conjuring” and its sequel, Bloquet says, “I saw both films multiple times in the cinema, and I loved the script for ‘The Nun,’ so being part of this movie is one of the best experiences of my career.”

Hardy thought Bloquet’s character, sprinkled with Dauberman’s signature humor, was another great layer to the story.  He confirms, “Frenchie is a lovable rogue and part of this odd trio with a priest and a nun, who may look at the world differently, but are stuck together for the time being.  There’s some inherent humor there, and Jonas really brought that out.”

Dauberman adds, “To me, Frenchie was such an important character because you need levity and to offset the scares; those lighter moments make horror all the darker.  Jonas can get really dark, but he’s also really funny.  I love what he brought to the character of Frenchie.”

While Father Burke carries holy water and Sister Irene prayer beads, Frenchie wields an axe and a shotgun.  Bloquet describes, “Frenchie is a very physical guy, and very strong. He’s down to earth and, at first, he seems like just the funny charming French guy who can’t say no to a pretty face.”

However, there is more to Frenchie than meets the eye.  
Bloquet continues, “Frenchie isn’t sure exactly what’s happening in the abbey, but he does know it’s not a good place to be and he does not want to stay there.  He is conflicted, though, because he doesn’t want to leave Sister Irene; he feels as protective as Father Burke.”

As the turrets of the imposing castle housing the abbey suddenly loom ahead, Frenchie’s horse, sensing danger, comes to a halt.  Forced to finish the trek on foot, they are met by an ominous sight…

Although the nun’s body was removed from the suicide site weeks ago, the swath of blood on the steps to the abbey is still wet to the touch.  How is that even possible?

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