Religious themes and lack of faith play a part in this week’s spate of lackluster new releases.
1. The Nun (Warner Brothers/New Line, 3,876 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated R for terror, violence, and disturbing/bloody images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 30% Fresh [83 Reviews]):
This film is a prequel to The Conjuring shared universe. I imagine a lot of you stopped reading at that sentence because that told you all you need make your decision on whether or not to see this film.
This one is set at a monastery in Romania in the 1950s. Strange, demonic happenings bring an investigation from the Vatican. They find that the disturbances are caused by a demon named Valak (a name that should be familiar to fans of the franchise).
Here’s a fun fact. The lead actress in this film, Taissa Farmiga, who is no stranger to horror due to her work on American Horror Story, is the sister of Vera Farmiga, who plays Lorraine Warren in the other films of the franchise.
2. Peppermint (STX Entertainment, 2,980 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 15% Fresh [52 Reviews]): Stop me when this starts sounding familiar.
A family is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and are gunned down by a cartel. There is only one survivor, who lost their spouse and children. The survivor tried to get justice through the system but the corrupt and broken system is unjust. The survivor decides to take matters into their own hands, hands they fill with military grade weaponry, as they declare war on the criminals that took away their family.
Comic book fans will immediately say that is the plot of The Punisher. It also is the plot of this film. There are some differences–obviously the gender of the protagonist–but it is close enough to be legally actionable.
3. God Bless the Crooked Road (Freestyle Releasing, 1,235 Theaters, 111 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic elements and some combat action, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 14% Fresh [6 Reviews]): By now you might have seen the vague TV ads for this film that end with a quote from a review that says “Take your friend to see this film” (or something like that). If you have a friend who wants you to see this film, will you like it? Answer these few questions to find out.
Do you like heavy-handed faith-based propaganda? Are you a fan of country music? Do you like stock-car racing and think their drivers are paragons of society? Do you have a unusually high respect for the armed services and the men who fight for our country? Then dust of you MAGA hat and join your friend at the theater, because this film is for you.
I know that sounds harsh. And I really don’t have anything against films aimed at that demographic or the filmmakers trying to reach beyond it. But that ad seems almost like the bait-and-switch cults use to get new members. They should have been more up front with what they are selling.
Next week, the hunt is on as one of the fiercest alien hunters gets a face lift in the new releases. See you then.