April 13, 2019

Very Brief Reviews of The Meg (2018) and The Nun (2018)

It has been quite a while since I have written any reviews of horror films. I think the last one might have been as long ago as January of this year. What gives? I haven't had nearly enough time to watch many of them and even less time to write reviews. Even my typical brief review format requires time I haven't had. I figured I'd make up for it by writing some very brief reviews (i.e., briefer than the usual) of a couple horror films I've seen recently.

The Meg (2018)

Much to my dismay, this was not actually a Family Guy movie. Instead, The Meg (2018) was a shark film starring Jason Statham. Calling it a horror film seems like a stretch, mostly because it was not even mildly scary or unsettling. I'm not at all sure it was supposed to be. The plot was about as simple as it gets. A deep sea exploration releases a giant shark (Megalodon) which proceeds to do what any shark-like creature in this kind of film is going to do. The best thing I can say about it was that fans of shark films will recognize a couple of parts where it pays homage to vastly superior films like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea. It was also a good-looking film, even though I can't say the CGI Megalodon did much for me. It somehow managed to be less convincing than the mechanical shark from Jaws. What's the worst thing I can say about The Meg? If you removed Statham and replaced him with an actor you'd never heard of, the film would have been right at home on SyFy.

Should you see it? That is easy to answer. If you know who Jason Statham is and you think the idea of him cast as a diver in a shark film sounds great even though he has zero fight scenes in the film, then you might enjoy it. For everyone else, skip it. I found it surprisingly boring, and that is something I was not expecting. I figured it wouldn't be great, but I thought it would be entertaining in the mindless popcorn movie kind of way. Nope. The 2010 Piranha remake was more entertaining. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would have thought Statham was right for this role. He's fine for what he does, but this wasn't it.

The Nun (2018)

I know The Nun (2018) did not get great reviews when it was released, and this led me to stay away for a while even though I have really enjoyed several of the other films in its universe. Now that I've seen it, I'd have to say that it was not as bad as I feared it would be. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it was good. It delivered an effectively creepy atmosphere, above average cinematography, and some impressive anti-Christian/Satanic imagery. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing in horror films, and I appreciated it here. The Nun has been criticized for excessive jump scares. This is fair criticism, but it did not bother me nearly as much as the lack of a compelling story. Overall, the film seemed to have potential but never really went anywhere. It was frustrating because it seemed like it could have been much better with a bit more work.

Should you see it? Maybe. If you are sufficiently creeped out by nuns and have not tired of all the Catholic-themed horror films, it might be worth a look. Just go into it with fairly low expectations for the story. I'd be surprised if most non-Catholic adults would find it scary, but I could imagine that some adolescents might. I think that those who are fans of the Conjuring and Annabelle films are going to be more disappointed than most. Thanks to the lack of a coherent story, this one does not compare favorably to the worst of them. I think the demonic nun character is more effective without the additional explanation this film tries to offer.