“The Conjuring” franchise resurrects the sinister entity Valak in “The Nun II,” a sequel to 2018’s “The Nun.” For fans of the series, the allure of returning to the world of Valak and the promise of spine-tingling scares might be irresistible. However, this installment feels more like a revisit to a well-worn haunted house than an evolution of the story.
Directed by Michael Chaves and featuring a returning cast led by Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, and Bonnie Aarons, “The Nun II” stays true to the gothic supernatural horror that defines “The Conjuring Universe.”
In this expansive horror franchise, which originated with 2013’s “The Conjuring,” there are three main films following the paranormal investigations of Lorraine and Ed Warren. Additionally, there’s a spin-off strand centered around Annabelle, the cursed doll introduced in “The Conjuring.”
“The Nun II” picks up four years after its predecessor, with Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) once again confronting the unholy presence of Valak, the titular Nun, at a boarding school in France. The premise offers potential for delving into Valak’s backstory and the mysteries surrounding the cursed abbey. However, the film quickly veers into familiar horror tropes, squandering the opportunity for a truly immersive and chilling narrative.
Returning lead Taissa Farmiga, who happens to be the real-life sister of Vera Farmiga, continues to anchor the film. Joining her are familiar and fresh faces, including Jonas Bloquet as Frenchie, Storm Reid as a fellow nun alongside Sister Irene, and Bonnie Aarons reprising her role as Valak/the Nun.
The Nun II: Taissa Farmiga Returns, but Can She Save This Spooky Sequel?
Unfortunately, the film’s ending rushes toward a conclusion that leaves much to be desired. It feels as if the filmmakers were racing to wrap up the story before the church bells rang. The revelations and confrontations lack the emotional depth required for a satisfying resolution, resulting in an anticlimactic and hurried finale.
Despite commendable performances from the cast, including Farmiga’s determined portrayal of Sister Irene, they are hampered by a lackluster script that fails to provide them with material to truly shine. The film is trapped within the clichés of the horror genre, preventing it from standing out or offering anything genuinely fresh.
Initially, “The Nun II” manages to create an atmosphere of dread, with eerie corridors and dimly lit chambers in the haunted school. The use of light adds to the tension. However, as the film progresses, Valak’s antics become less menacing and more like a rehearsed routine. The foreboding atmosphere gradually dissipates, making Valak’s appearances feel less terrifying.
In the end, “The Nun II” feels like a missed opportunity in a genre craving innovation. While it starts with promise, it succumbs to predictability and fails to deliver the chills and thrills that horror fans yearn for.
“The Conjuring” Universe is the highest grossing horror franchise in history with $2+ billion worldwide. Globally, four of “The Conjuring” Universe titles have earned more than $300 million worldwide each (“The Nun,” $366 million; “The Conjuring 2,” $322 million; “The Conjuring,” $320 million; “Annabelle: Creation,” $307 million), and all seven have each grossed more than $200 million. “The Nun” is the top-earning film in the franchise, with more than $366 million worldwide.