in ,

The Nun II Resurrects the Demon Valak for One Last Spiritual Showdown

Courtesy of New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures

I went into The Nun II with a mix of optimism and trepidation. On the one hand, I thought the trailers for the film were really promising, and director Michael Chaves proved with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It that he knows how to make a good horror movie. But on the other hand, Michael Chaves also directed the dreadful The Curse of La Llorona, and the first The Nun was one of the worst entries in the Conjuring Universe. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this film, but I knew one thing–I couldn’t wait to find out.

The Nun II was directed by Michael Chaves, and it stars Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Storm Reid, and Katelyn Rose. In the movie, the demon Valak is back once again, and when the Catholic Church notices a string of mysterious deaths among priests and nuns, it asks Sister Irene, one of the heroes from the original The Nun, to investigate.

She reluctantly accepts, and the skeptical Sister Debra goes along for the ride too. The two nuns soon discover that Valak is behind the mysterious events they’re examining, and their quest leads them to a boarding school in France where the students and staff have already begun to experience some terrifying supernatural phenomena. What’s more, Maurice, the man who becomes possessed by Valak at the end of the previous film, works at this boarding school, so the nuns’ arrival kicks off a spiritual battle for the ages.

As you can probably tell from that plot synopsis, The Nun II is a bit different from most of the Conjuring movies. It’s not just a haunted house story set in a single location, and for a movie universe that’s been going on for over a decade, it’s a welcome change of pace.

That being said, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. This movie still feels very much like a traditional haunted house film. It features the same kinds of scares we normally expect from that subgenre, and much of it takes place in a single location, the school. However, in my opinion, it’s different enough that it’s not just the “same old same old,” and I appreciated that.

A girl looking at an image of Valak
Courtesy of New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures

And speaking of the scares, they were probably the best thing about The Nun II. Now, if you read other reviews of this movie, you’ll probably hear that it’s very jump scare-heavy, and that’s true, but it’s not quite the whole truth. See, these jump scares don’t just come out of nowhere.

Michael Chaves does an excellent job of leading up to them with tense and atmospheric set pieces, and that buildup is what really won me over. Those scenes are fantastic, so even when the jump scares themselves are a bit lackluster (and several of them are, especially in the second half of the film), the setup is so good it simply doesn’t matter.

However, once we get past the scares and the refreshing story structure, everything else about The Nun II is mediocre at best. Take the characters, for example. They’re decent enough, but I didn’t feel particularly drawn to anybody in this movie. And because of that lack of connection, I wasn’t terribly concerned about their well-being, so even though I had fun with the horror, it didn’t hit me very hard on an emotional level.

What’s more, there was one character I genuinely didn’t like: Sister Debra, the skeptical nun. She’s played by Storm Reid, and I had a really tough time buying into Reid’s performance. To be fair, if you just take it on its own merits, it’s fine. However, in the context of the film as a whole, it doesn’t entirely fit.

The Nun II takes place in the 1950s, and something about Storm Reid’s mannerisms just comes across as anachronistic. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but she simply doesn’t feel like she belongs in that decade. She has a very Gen Z vibe to her, so whenever she came on screen, she took me out of the movie a little bit.

On top of that, I also had an issue with the story in this film. Sure, I enjoyed the story structure, but the actual story itself is a little weak. In particular, the movie gives us a glimpse into Valak’s hellish plan, and without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that it’s pretty underwhelming. You might even call it pedestrian, so when I finally learned what it was, my reaction was little more than a disappointed shoulder shrug.

A man with a bloody face and Valak behind him
Courtesy of New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures

Last but not least, we have to talk about the way The Nun II handles its Catholicism. As I’m sure you know, this story is steeped in the Catholic faith. Sure, it takes some obvious liberties (as all movies rightfully do), but it’s still firmly rooted in the imagery and beliefs of Catholicism. However, as a Catholic myself, I have some very big issues with the way this film portrays those beliefs.

For starters, even apart from the obvious exaggerations and artistic liberties, there are a few lines here and there that just betray a fundamental lack of understanding of Catholic theology. Even the nuns make some rather basic mistakes when they talk to each other, and I found that pretty irritating.

However, I was actually willing to forgive those errors. Even though I wish filmmakers would do a better job with their Catholic “quality control” (and in case any filmmakers or studio execs are reading this, I’m totally available to consult in that area), it’s not normally a make-or-break issue for me. However, in the final few scenes, The Nun II makes such a huge blunder that I simply couldn’t get past it.

Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that it’s the religious equivalent of Indiana Jones surviving a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator. It’s so outrageously inaccurate that it completely ruins the movie, so even though The Nun II is an enjoyable mixed bag before that, it shoots itself in the foot right before the credits begin to roll.

So at the end of the day, I’m sad to say I wouldn’t recommend The Nun II. Sure, it has a few redeeming qualities, like the cool horror scenes, but they’re ultimately outweighed by the film’s numerous flaws. The weak story, mediocre (at best) characters, and religious inaccuracies are simply too much for the scares to overcome, so if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I suggest you look elsewhere.

The Nun II is playing in theaters right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

A bloodied man in a car with a shattered windshield

When Evil Lurks Trailer Promises Another Winner from Terrified Director Demián Rugna

Godzilla roaring near a person

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Trailer Teases Godzilla on the Small Screen