Photo credits: Warner Bros.
Set in 1956, four years after the events of “The Nun” (2018), we’re back with Taissa Farmiga’s sweet but slightly solemn Sister Irene — laying low in Italy after her previous demon-battling antics in Romania. In order to restore peace within the community, Sister Irene is once again summoned to defeat the evil creature, named Valak, that nearly killed her the first time. She isn’t sure that she can handle it. All across Europe priests are falling dead to horrific tragedies. With new nun Sister Debra under her wing, Sister Irene sets out to stop this monster once and for all.
“The Nun II” (2023) gets off to a very quick start. It starts with a priest asking his son to go downstairs to the basement of the church to put back the wine from that day’s services. The boy quickly realizes that he is not the only one down there and quickly alerts the priest, who starts to investigate. We are led out to the chapel where the priest asks the unknown entity to show itself. When the wine begins to boil in its container, so hot that it evaporates completely, the priest realizes that he has made a mistake. He is thrown up into the air, legs down and arms out as if on a crucifix, and erupts into flames.
Unknowingly, Maurice, a friend of Irene’s from the first film, didn’t make it out of his and Irene’s previous encounter with Valak as innocently as we had all thought. Instead, he has become a vessel for the demon, who uses him to carry out a series of gruesome murders and frightful encounters as part of a search for a relic that could make the demon even more powerful. Irene’s mission leads her and Debra to a French boarding school where her former friend and savior, Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), has started a new job as a handyman. “The Nun II” spends most of its runtime planting the seeds for Sister Irene and Maurice’s eventual reunion.
The biggest flaw the film runs into is the Nun herself: as instantly iconic as she became in James Wan’s ”The Conjuring 2” (2016), she’s more of a strikingly spooky image than a truly terrifying villain. She is introduced to us almost from the get-go as an almost-constant lurking shadow in the background. There was also quite an abundance of very predictable jump scares. This almost desensitizes her to the audience before we are even finished with the movie. The film’s best sequence sees Valak manifest in the fluttering pages of a newsstand — the scariest thing to happen to magazines since the dawn of the internet.
It is honestly very predictable, which takes away from the intended suspense of the movie.
“The Nun II” really doesn’t do much more to stand out from the rest of this franchise. However, I enjoyed watching this movie, largely due to its performances. It’s slightly better than the first movie in my opinion, but I hope with the post-credit tease, the next entry brings us closer to the first “Conjuring.”
Samantha Jeronis is a third-year English major with a minor in journalism. SJ976620@wcupa.edu