The Nun II: Valak’s (Slightly) Improved Return to the Habit

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

Plot: 1956 – France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.

Review: The Conjuring universe has introduced a host of demonic entities to the world of horror with arguably the two most memorable being Annabelle and Valak, better known as The Nun. But while old Annie’s success is more or less due to the popularity of better evil doll movies like Child’s Play, The Nun was something new, something creepy and something that was instantly intriguing. So much so that fans of The Conjuring movies wanted to know more about this monochromatic maniac leading us to the inevitable spin-off The Nun in 2018.

Is this Insidious: The Red Door or The Nun II? Now I’m confused

While The Nun had a solid premise and a built-in fan-base it was ultimately a wasted opportunity to create a truly iconic monster. A critical failure but a financial success meant a sequel was inevitable and with it hope that they could finally deliver on their promise of a truly terrifying viewing experience.

So, was the sequel terrifying? No, not in the least (or at least it wasn’t for this viewer) as they doubled down on lazy jump scares and cliches but whether it’s Taissa Farmiga giving it her all as Sister Irene or that gruesome opening scene, The Nun II turned out to be a bit more entertaining than the first film, if not by much.

Excuse me, are you defecating in the corner?

In this story viewers are reunited with Taissa Farmiga as the now full-fledged nun Sister Irene. Priests are being murdered in Europe and the evil is spreading as Valak works its way to an all-girl’s boarding school with the hope of finding more power. It’s up to Sister Irene and her friend Debra (Storm Reid) to stop the Demon Nun (Bonnie Aarons) before it’s too late.

For the most part The Nun II plays the same notes as its predecessor and depending on your enjoyment of the first movie, that’s a good thing or a bad thing. As I mentioned earlier the jump scares are frequent and quite predictable, which meant like The Pope’s Exorcist there was very little here I found chilling. In fact, I’ve come to accept these movies aren’t being made with hardcore horror fans in mind, but more for the PG-13 crowd (the R-rating here doesn’t feel earned) and those who only visit the Land of Horror but would never want to live there. Horror Tourists, if you will.

Is this some kind of nuntervention?

As I mentioned earlier, Taissa Farmiga delivers a solid performance and basically carries this movie on her shoulders. Valak might have a great appearance and I think Bonnie Aarons has maintained the same level of creepiness through every performance, but director Michael Chaves makes the same mistakes here that he did in every single Conjuring movie he’s directed (he also helmed The Curse of La Llorona and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) which is overexposure of the titular monster. Too many scenes of Valak popping up meant what was once a disturbing and chilling entity creeping out of the shadows is now just someone in a costume. The scariest monsters are always the ones your imagination conjures up, not the ones you can see coming from a mile away. Throw in a ton of CGI and what we’re left with is a feeling of detachment while viewing the movie instead of the immersion needed to evoke true fear.

I know I said this one was better than the original but all I’ve done is point out the flaws. So, what exactly did I find better here? Well, the execution might have been mediocre, but the story is well written and like the Annabelle movies connects smoothly with the rest of the Conjuring universe. By the end of it I did find myself interested in seeing how this will all turn out in the upcoming (and possibly final) Conjuring movie, The Last Rites.

Look behind you! BEHIND YOU! Why don’t they ever listen?!

My only hope is James Wan will return to the universe he built for this final chapter. And hopefully The Nun’s conclusion will be as strong as its introduction instead of just another lazy, jump scare-filled thriller trying to disguise itself as a horror movie.

Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10


Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge-Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby! Read More

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