THE NUN II (2023)
Release Date: 09/15/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Horror. Mystery. Thriller.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures.
"1956 - France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
As a huge James Wan fan, the films within The Conjuring Universe have always intrigued me. In 2016, we were introduced to Valak in The Conjuring 2, and two years later an origin story based on the evil spirit was released. Though 2018’s The Nun was a disappointing feature plagued by a weak script, I have always found Valak to be an effective villain, so when it was announced a sequel was on the cards, I was hoping the second installment would be an improvement from its predecessor.
Directed by Michael Chaves who is no stranger to the universe — he also directed The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and The Curse of La Llorona — The Nun II centers around a boarding school in France, where Maurice (known as Frenchie in the first film), now works. After a series of devastating murders that take place at the property, Sister Irene, who now lives in Italy, is called upon by the church to investigate, as they believe such happenings may be linked to Valak.
Though The Nun II isn’t one of the best horror films of the year, it certainly isn’t one of the worst either. The follow-up is an improvement from the first, with a better plot, interesting focal characters, and some effective suspense-building moments. I think it’s also important to go into these types of films knowing that they are pretty jump scare heavy, and to see it as more of a good time than a horror film that will have you terrified once you leave the theater.
The storyline takes time to unravel, but I did find myself wondering what Valak’s intent was behind the haunting. This is more than I can say for The Nun which lost my attention quickly. In addition, I was invested in Maurice’s story and his budding relationship with teacher Kate. The pair share great chemistry, and their endearing interactions made me care about their fate. Similarly, Kate’s daughter Sophie is someone you root for, and as a likable kid who is being bullied, viewers can sympathize with her.
It’s also a joy to see Taissa Farmiga reprise her role as Irene and come face-to-face with Valak once again. The scenes between the two are always the most climatic, and during this feature, we get to see more of Irene’s vulnerable side. The sequel also introduces Storm Reid to the franchise, and Irene and Debra complement each other as a determined duo willing to do whatever it takes to bring the demon down.
Where The Nun II excels the most is with its atmospheric setting. From foggy streets to an abandoned chapel, the film creates an eerie feeling that leaves you wondering when Valak may pop up for a fright. The Nun II also has arguably one of the most effective scenes in The Conjuring Universe, involving magazine page images that flicker open to form Valak. I wish they hadn’t included this scene in the trailer, as though it’s impactful, It would have been even better had viewers not seen it before going into the film.
There are certain moments during the third act that are completely over the top and could have been executed better, but when dealing with a demonic nun, I guess some outlandish moments are to be expected. If you’re a fan of The Conjuring franchise, you will have a fun time with this movie, but if you’re a casual viewer this will be one you may want to watch on a lazy Sunday once the film hits streaming.