The Nun II (2023) – Fresh Meat #14

I must admit that I’m a bit of a homer for the Conjuring films. I like all 3 of the primary ones. It’s the spinoffs that I haven’t been too pleased with. Outside of the third Annabelle, which ironically features the Warrens and their home, they all feel a bit stale, with characters that just aren’t memorable at all. The one I hated the MOST, despite featuring the thoroughly engaging younger Farmiga sister, was The Nun. Hands down. Needless to say, that doesn’t bode well for my excitement towards the sequel.

Synopsis:

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.

IMDb: 5.6

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%

Tagline: The greatest evil in The Conjuring Universe.

The reviews for this one are better than the original, which is currently sitting at 5.4 on IMDb and 24% on RT. The Nun II grossed 249 million dollars (ranking 6th out of 8 Conjuring universe films), versus the original’s worldwide take of 365 million (ranking 1st).

I have to state that I find it hard to have nuns as likable characters. There’s only so much they can do in terms of relationships, love, having children, getting into mischief, and any sort of characterization outside of their devotion to God. They’re fairly one dimensional. That was my problem with the first one and will more than likely be the problem with the second one. Nuns are great and all, but unless they’re angry teachers slapping Catholic kids with rulers, there’s not a lot of places you can go with them.

After much meandering, we finally get a semblance of plot around the 25-minute mark. I even asked out loud to my family, “do we have a plot yet?” shortly before Super Nun, Taissa aka Sister Irene, gets sent on her mission to stop Valek.

They actually shot parts of the film in an abandoned church in France, so seemingly most of the set dressing was done for them, but it really is a cool setting with some eerie atmosphere. The shadows, the darkness, they all add a certain ambiance to the movie, but it’s just not enough to create true fear.

Characters wander around and make dumb decisions, but it’s always obvious which characters are in true danger and are created to be cannon fodder, and which ones are in it for the long haul. There are really no surprises here.

I can’t put my finger on why the demon Valek is so scary in the Conjuring films, and so boring in the Nun films. I just think I worry for Ed and Lorraine Warren’s safety, even though I know they aren’t going to die. On the other hand, I can’t even remember the name of the protagonist in the film I’m currently watching! I had to consult Wikipedia to find her name, and this is the second film her character has been in!

The one part of the film that stands out as a visual tour de force is the scene in which the magazine pages all turn and form different images on the newsstand, eventually becoming Valek and creating a jump scare that you can see from a mile away. The timing and precision necessary to make all that work had to be a pain in the ass, one that would send my OCD into overdrive.

The movie is fine, and my kids really liked it, even going so far as to call it scary, but I truly struggled to like it at all. The jump scares just don’t work, and the religious aspects bore me. Taissa’s wide-eyed innocence and naivete don’t make for much of a bad ass demon slaying super nun, and she spends most of the movie looking scared and confused.

I truly feel that this dead horse has been beaten enough and I sure hope there isn’t a third one. I absolutely want nun of it!

5.5/10 Stab Wounds

About RetRo(n) 54 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.