Review – The Nun 2

The demon Valak is back for more in this follow-up to the 2018 juggernaut The Nun, which surprised the box office to become a gargantuan horror hit. While the universe of movies based around The Conjuring has slowed down considerably since then, if any movie deserved a redemption arc, it was definitely The Nun. Fortunately, this sequel has a stacked cast with familiar faces from the first film and a few new ones to justify its existence and propel the franchise forward with a big new mystery and some new scares that outdo the previous film. The Nun 2 is a welcome return to the Conjuring universe.

Four years after the events of the previous film, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) has moved to a new convent while the whispers of the events at Saint Carta are still spoken about, things heat up again when a series of strange deaths and apparent suicides are making their way across Europe, spreading from church to church. When a little boy witnesses a priest set on fire by a pair of evil eyes (you know who!) Sister Irene is roped back in by the church to help take down Valak once again. Coming along for the ride is Debra (Storm Reid) a rebellious half-believer sent to the convent by her father to keep her on the straight and narrow. After some initial investigation, they collide with Maurice aka Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), a caretaker at an all-girls boarding school. His relationship with Kate (Anna Popplewell) and her daughter Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey) starts growing when the headmistress is found dead in the derelict chapel. 

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is, is this any better than the first film that suffered from horrible pacing issues, a storyline that didn’t make sense and offered nothing new or original to this franchise that seemed to be able to do this with each film it released in the past? The answer is yes, it is definitely better than the first film. The story incorporates horror as well as a mystery that, once gets going will have you guessing till the very end. This film also doesn’t rely on Valak alone to offer up some good scares. There is another Baphomet-like demon that is activated by the presence of Valak, that allows the girls who live in the school to experience some of the terror in this story.

The horror scenes in this movie offer a mix of jump scares, bodies being elevated and burnt alive and demonic possession complete with bone-crunching and plenty of blood. Director Michael Chaves, who made The Conjuring 3 : The Devil Made Me Do It offers up plenty of deadpans in dark and empty rooms, playing with your mind, just waiting for something to jump out at you. Scenes, as the camera sits behind the characters’ torches, are unnerving as the boarding school is the perfect setting for this story to feel extra creepy. 

Farmiga and Bloquet are fantastic reprising their roles from the first film. Farmiga feels much more settled into the role and her chemistry with newcomer Reid keeps the middle part of the film from tanking when the action and scares come to a grinding halt. Bloquet has clearly moved on from the horror of the events and allows for his character to be the constant source of happiness and hope in a school full of Mean Girl-type bullies. Popplewell, who is best known as Susan from the Narnia films, plays a doting mother and attentive teacher perfectly. The chemistry between all of these characters, when everything comes to a head, really helps to sell the terror of the situation. 

It’s not all scares and chemistry, the story is a huge leap forward for this series after the previous film, and while that’s great progress, it still suffers from second-act bloat that brings all of the action and horror to a grinding halt for a little too long. Fortunately, the final act saves the film from falling away completely and will have your eyes glued to the screen for every second of action that is packed into the final 20 minutes. 

The Nun 2 is a huge leap forward for this series, and with most of the actors returning from the previous film and adding in some talented new ones, we get a superior sequel that outshines the first. While it still does suffer from some of the pacing and plot issues, a strong final act and post-credits scene make this a memorable outing and a worth entry into the Conjuring universe of films. 

The Nun 2 is in cinemas today. 

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The demon Valak is back for more in this follow-up to the 2018 juggernaut The Nun, which surprised the box office to become a gargantuan horror hit. While the universe of movies based around The Conjuring has slowed down considerably since then, if any...Review - The Nun 2