The Nun – Abel Korzeniowski

Before I start with this review, I have to confess two things. The first is that I cannot handle horror movies. I do not like very tense moments where bad and scary things can happen, and I definitely do not like jump scares. When a horror movie is shown on a big screen or on television, I will be hiding under my seat or at least have my glasses off during the whole movie. The second confession is that I adore music written by Abel Korzeniowski. His music is always so full of emotion and his melodies are gorgeous. He has written music for the horror genre in the past, e.g. for the TV show Penny Dreadful. Because  that show is also a drama, there was still a place for these beautiful melodies and emotion in the music. From what I had read and from the trailers I had seen, Korzeniowski did have less room for those in the horror movie The Nun. Because I love Korzeniowski’s music so much but am terrified of horror movies, I will try to give my thoughts about this score without watching the movie.

The first track “God Ends Here,” sets the tone for the music perfectly: It starts with the beautiful violin play that I know and love in Korzeniowski’s music. On top of that, he has added a choir with gorgeous female voices. Later in the track, the music gets darker with one of the sounds that literally haunts during the rest of the score with an extremely low male voice singing through his throat, adding more tension. Since it is a horror movie, a lot of tension can be expected in the music. One way Korzeniowski approaches this is with melodies and musical patterns that make you feel uncomfortable, most of the time played by strings, and with the low male voices as can be heard in “Sacrifice.” It is fun to hear how Korzeniowski tries to produce all kind of uncomfortable sounds, using the orchestra, to create tension. In “Lost Souls,” for example, he lets the tuba player just toy in the low regions of his instrument, and in “Anything but Holy” you can hear sounds like the string players tapping and knocking on their instruments. That is the other way Korzeniowski handles the tension and the scares musically for this movie. All kinds of natural sounds can be heard throughout this score: they are – as far as I know – all produced by musicians on their instruments. I can hear tapping on the strings, bursts from the brass instruments and all kinds of voices ranging from high female voices to low male ones, with sometimes using their throat.

Luckily, there is also still room for melodies. “Sister Irene” is a gorgeous theme on flute with the violin taking over, backed up by a female vocalist singing wonderfully. The amazing melodies continue in “The Abbey of St. Carta,” before the track transitions into the low throat chanting. One of the most stunning tracks on the album is “Handmaid of God,” with the inclusion of the Irene theme and a wonderful female voice. There are also some beautiful and emotionally played melodies in the last two tracks “Deliver Us from Evil” and “‘Cause I have Faith.”

In addition to Korzeniowski’s gorgeous Irene theme, there are some other melodies on the album, as I mentioned, but they are rare. However, I really like the way Korzeniowski has approached the tense and scary moments with the natural sounds. You can hear the musicians using their instruments, making the sound very human. It is like they are using their instruments to transfer their own emotions into the music and in doing so are passing the same emotions to the audience in the cinema. I really wish I could handle horror. I have tried watching some pieces of the previous movies in the same universe online and came to the conclusion that I would be hiding behind the chairs all the time. It is such a shame that I can not witness how Korzeniowski’s amazing score would sound with the inclusion of the scary images on the screen. If you like horror scores, I can totally recommend this one.

Listen or buy


The highlights are in bold.

  1. God Ends Here (1:42)
  2. Sacrifice (2:29)
  3. Sister Irene (1:07)
  4. The Abbey of St. Carta (2:19)
  5. Hanging Nun (2:51)
  6. Valak (2:59)
  7. Lost Souls (2:17)
  8. Anything But Holy (3:23)
  9. Veiled Mirrors (1:04)
  10. Corridor of Crosses (1:33)
  11. Perpetual Adoration (1:48)
  12. Ice House (1:22)
  13. Branded by the Demon (2:42)
  14. Burning Cross (1:01)
  15. They’re All Gone (1:50)
  16. Handmaid of God (3:14)
  17. Into the Abyss (3:09)
  18. Possessed (1:42)
  19. Deliver Us from Evil (3:06)
  20. ‘Cause I Have Faith (3:32)

Total length: 45 minutes
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / WaterTower Music (2018)


  • Anton Smit

    Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website, Anton is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association, has a job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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