The Nun II - New Release Review
Director: Michael Chaves
Starring: Bonnie Aarons, Taissa Farmiga, Storm Reid, Jonas Bloquet
Written by: Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing, Akela Cooper
Produced by: Peter Safran, James Wan
Cinematography by: Tristan Nyby
Original Score by: Marco Beltrami
1956 - France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. Sister Irene once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.
'The Conjuring' Universe over the last 10 years has pretty much turned into the MCU of horror. With so many spin offs and all held together with the ongoing stories of The Warrens, 'The Conjuring' Universe (TCU, trademark it) shows no signs of stopping, no matter the quality of the products. The original ‘The Nun’ film was pretty bad; the character of the Nun herself was fantastic in ‘The Conjuring 2’, but when they explored her origins, it all just felt pointless. One of the highlights to come from the first film was Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, who was a completely new character to the franchise, but Farmiga’s acting elevated a very basic character to become a likeable, sympathetic person. Now the sequel follows Sister Irene. Can they do the impossible and actually make a decent scary ‘Nun’ film?
Now the first film was completely unnecessary, so the second film is already hoping the audiences will just come alone with them for the ride. If you can get over the whole “I know we stopped the Nun before, but somehow, she’s returned” you’ll have fun with this. It's really working with the logic of the classic 80’s horror villains "They're back! Ya hate to see it”. There’s lots of logic leaps in this sequel and a major one that I'll get into later that’s a slight spoiler. I would often score a film down for being so pointless but there’s really something fun about the silliness of the story here. Like Freddy Krueger before her, it is just fun to watch from scene to scene what the Nun’s going to do next. Bonnie Aarons is always fantastic as the titular Nun, creating scares with just a simple look. The film is actually surprisingly brutal at times, with the Nun delivering bloody kills compared to the usual throwing someone around the room she usually does in 'The Conjuring’ films.
Like I said, Taissa Farmiga returns as Sister Irene and while she isn’t given much to do, she still brings a likeability to the character that’s instantly watchable. Storm Reid joins the cast this time as Debra, a nun in training, and she plays off Farmiga pretty well. Miss Reid has been in several horror projects in recent years (The Last of Us, The Invisible Man) and I think she’s one to keep an eye on; it’s only a matter of time before she gets a great role as a horror final girl.
The scares in the film are often predictable yet well executed. Director Michael Chaves previously made ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ and ‘The Curse of La Llorona’, two films that I personally think are terrible, but here, Chaves shows a real mastery of being able to create visually interesting scares. The scares feel like they’re moving from set piece to set piece, but I found them to be very enjoyable. I should say that I did see the film in 4DX, so some of the scares might have (literally) hit harder than if I was just watching this in a normal theatre. I highly recommend seeing this in 4DX by the way, it’s an absolute thrill ride and I almost fell out of my seat several times.
So, a major issue with ‘The Nun II’ is that if you’re a fan of the previous film and the franchise as a whole, the plot here is kind of pointless. Jonas Bloquet returns as Maurice from the previous film, and at the end of ‘The Nun’, we see that Maurice was the Warrens first exorcist case that we saw at the beginning of ‘The Conjuring’. So by the end of the first film, you understand that Maurice is the link between ‘The Nun’ film and ‘The Conjuring’. So, when ‘The Nun II’ begins and Maurice starts showing signs of being possessed, the movie sends Sister Irene on this side plot to find out how the Nun returned and as an audience member you’re sat there thinking “Well, it’s Maurice.” Even by the end, SPOILERS, when they stop the Nun from doing evils and Maurice is saved, you know as a fan that Maurice is still possessed. So, it just feels like the plot is wasting your time if you’re actually a fan of the films.
Is ‘The Nun II’ fun? Sure! Is it a good film? Kinda. It's very well made and everyone is giving their all, but the film kinda feels pointless from the beginning. If you’re looking for a fun Friday night date movie, it’s a good choice but this feels less like the next exciting chapter in 'The Conjuring' Universe and more like spooky cliffs-notes from the previous film.
- Adam Neeson
'The Nun II' is currently scaring the shit out of audiences in cinemas right now!