We had Becky dive into The Nun II to see if it was worth checking out.
I’ve been aware of The Conjuring series for a number of years, but up until now I’d steered clear of it because it seemed like the type of horror that wouldn’t be good for me. Then I saw the trailers for The Nun II and I have to admit my curiosity was piqued. The trailer promised hair-raising scares and I finally convinced myself that it was worth taking a chance to see if the film could deliver on what it promised.
The Nun II
Directed By: Michael Chaves
Written By: Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing, Akela Cooper
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Jaonas Bloquet, Storm Reid, Anna Popplewell, Bonnie Aarons
Release Date: September 8, 2023
The Nun II is a follow up to the 2018 film The Nun, taking place four years after that story. After barely escaping a demon with her life, Sister Irene is doing her best to live a quiet life in a convent in Italy. However, since the demon managed to escape at the end of the first film, Sister Irene’s services are soon requested once again to deal with the infernal creature once and for all.
It’s a solid enough premise for a horror film. The viewer doesn’t even need to have seen the first film as enough flashbacks are featured to fill in the blanks from the first story. And yet…despite the solid foundation, there is something lacking about The Nun II. It certainly starts in a good place: the opening sequence left me so terrified that I couldn’t help wondering if I’d made a mistake going to see this film in theaters after all.
If only that had been true.
The biggest problem with The Nun II is that it doesn’t scare consistently. There are moments of sheer terror spaced out by the journey of Sister Irene and the school-girl drama of Sophie. Of course no horror movie can keep the tension ratcheted up to 100 all the time, but during these moments in The Nun II the tension level drops to almost zero and there were times I forgot I was watching a horror film, at least until the Nun showed up again.
The diabolical Nun is one thing this film gets absolutely right. From the moment the film starts, you’re never sure when or how the Nun is going to show up next, with the reveal occasionally being so subtle it takes you a moment to notice, with the brain catching on right about the time the demon lunges for the camera. This is the type of horror that I was expecting, with a character that can literally show up at any moment with no warning.
Another detail I liked in The Nun II were the conversations Sister Irene had with Sister Debra, a young novice struggling with her faith. Sister Debra was clearly set up to be the audience surrogate in this story and it was thrilling to watch her slowly embrace her faith, especially by the last act of the film.
While The Nun II is far from perfect, especially because of its uneven tone, one place where it did not fail is in the final act when the sisters confront the demon. This is what I’d hoped the entire movie would be: a frantic fight against the forces of evil with jump scares that had me wanting to fly out of my skin. It was a little disturbing to see children placed in such peril, but then again, this is the world of The Conjuring, so I wasn’t too surprised.
If you’ve followed the world of The Conjuring to this point, you will probably find something to enjoy in The Nun II. If you’re a relative newcomer like me, well, you’ll probably struggle to get through the bulk of this film. The Nun II does have its fair share of scares, but I can’t help feeling it could’ve been so much more.