The Nun II [Film Review]

The Nun II
Released: September 8, 2023

Director: Michael Chaves
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Storm Reid, Anna Popplewell, Katelyn Rose Downey, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga.

Can you believe it’s been ten years since The Conjuring was released? Eight movies later and we have an entire cinematic universe happening but sadly not all of them are good. The Curse of La Llorona was completely forgettable and for the most part I don’t get the hype for Annabelle, The Conjuring films tell us she can move but three films later and she just sits there collecting dust. However, The Nun is one that really seems to divide fans. So many claim to not like that film yet it’s the #1 grossing film in The Conjuring universe. Personally I enjoyed it at the cinema when it was released. It gave me a 70’s vibe that focused on delivering a spooky atmosphere and suspense instead of being heavily reliant on jump scares. This week The Nun II is released in cinemas around the globe, so can it top itself for highest grossing film?

Set four years after the events in Romania, Valak is back and on a tour of Europe, killing religious people at will. The movie opens with a Priest and alter boy getting ready for service only to be interrupted by a force that tortures and kills the priest in a fiery blaze. It’s definitely an opening scene to grab your attention and you can only hope the rest of the film is as good.

Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) is back to teaching and the story of Valak is now told as some kind of ghost story amongst the nuns. Father Burke was promoted to Bishop but nobody knows who or what became of the young nun who helped him. She only did all the hard work, why should anybody know her name right? Despite the attitudes of the Vatican church on this matter, they call upon Sister Irene once more to face Valak and find out what it wants, but she will have to do it alone because Bishop Burke has died. As Irene sets off on her latest adventure, she’s joined by novitiate Sister Debra (Storm Reid) who has run away from the convent. Debra’s father sent her there because if all his sons can join the army and fight for their country, then she can work for God. She’s not all that religious though so she’s forever getting into trouble and thinks seeing a miracle in action might help find her faith. Meanwhile Frenchy (Jonas Bloquet) is working at a boarding school for girls in France as a groundskeeper. He’s bonded with student Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey), a polite and quiet girl that’s bullied by the mean girls of the school, and there are definitely some warm and fuzzy feelings for her mother Kate (Anna Popplewell) who is a teacher there.

Eventually Irene’s investigating leads them to the boarding school as they realize Valak is a fallen angel and all of the people murdered are connected by a common ancestor, she also discovers that Frenchy is the key to all of it when it dawns on her that he was possessed by Valak when he returned to save her all those years ago.

One thing that concerned me about this movie was the fact director Michael Chaves was attached. He directed The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and The Curse of La Llorona and they are the weakest films in the series. With The Conjuring, it wasn’t just the storyline that seemed dull, but so many scenes were just darkness I wondered if his budget didn’t include set design. Sadly The Nun II continues Chaves fear of lighting, which is a shame because France definitely had electricity back in the 1950’s. A few times I took my glasses off to see if they were obstructing my view, maybe I had fogged them up, but no such luck. I’m all for a film having a mood but it shouldn’t come with a dose of eyestrain. This became an issue later with Black Phillip running around the school and I’ll have to take their word on the fact it was a goat because if you asked me, it was Krampus.

Writer Akela Cooper (Hellfest/M3gan/Malignant) has given us a worthy continuation of the story that keeps you intrigued throughout. Despite being possessed, Frenchy has grown up from the previous film and with his caring nature, you want to see good things happen for him. One thing that began to bother me during the second half of the film though, was I kept wondering when someone is going to pick up a phone and call Ed Warren. We know from The Conjuring that they met Frenchy and tried to exorcise the demon from him unsuccessfully at some point in their career. A scene with Sophie, sees her going upstairs believing she’s following her mother when she opens a door and sees The Nun standing at the end of the Warren’s hallway – straight out of The Conjuring 2 – but then the vision fades and we see it’s just a dark utility closet of some kind and it’s never mentioned again why this kid just got a vision for something that will happen in 20 years time.

Thankfully a mid-credits scene saved itself but now it begs the question: will we be getting The Nun 3 in the near-distant future or a new Conjuring film? Is it even considered a crossover event if The Nun is a spinoff from The Conjuring in the first place? Do I just have too much time on my hands and overthinking this? If you look at the true story events, the Warrens met Frenchy in the mid-80’s where they successfully performed an exorcism on him but The Conjuring is set in 1971 so we know the films aren’t strictly following real life. A damn shame because it seems like real life Frenchy was one very troubled guy.

With a 16-year gap between storylines, let’s hope they don’t try and milk it by giving us a few more Nun films before the big event.

Review by Katie Torrance

Rating 3.5/5

The Nun II is in cinemas today across Australia thanks to Warner Bros.

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