Review of period horror sequel, ‘The Nun II’

September 15, 2023 Mario Bautista 614 views

Nun1‘THE Nun’ was shown in 2018 as part of “The Conjuring” film universe that also introduced the deadly doll, Annabelle. The figure of the menacing nun first appeared in “The Conjuring 2” and it was a hit with the fans of the franchise so it had its own spin off movie.

It was a big hit worldwide. As a matter of fact, it was the biggest hit in the entire series, so it’s not surprising they now have a sequel after five years, “The Nun II”.

“The Nun I” was set in 1952. A young nun, Sister Irene (Tessa Farmiga, younger sister of Vera who plays Lorraine Warren in “The Conjuring” series ), is told by Rome to accompany a priest, Father Burke (Demian Burke), to investigate the death of two nuns in a monastery in Romania.

The nuns were killed by a menacing demon who appears as a scary evil nun, Valak (Bonnie Aarons). They are assisted by Maurice, nicknamed Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), the villager who delivers supplies to the nuns.

In “Nun II”, Sister Irene and Frenchie are back with, of course, Valak, since she is playing the title-role. The movie is now set in Tarascon, France, in 1956.

Sister Irene is serving in Italy when she is asked to investigate some mysterious deaths in Tarascon. Another young nun, Debra (Storm Reid), goes with her.

In Tarascon, they meet Frenchie, who is now a gardener-handyman in a Catholic school for girls. Frenchie has befriended a young student, Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey), who is bullied by the mean girls in their school.

They gang up on her and lock her up inside an abandoned chapel where a priest once died. While she is alone inside, Sophie is haunted by Valak but she escapes. We can’t understand, though,why the bullies are so fearless in oppressing her when her mother is actually their teacher.

It is later revealed that the demon in Romania has not really perished but has only come to possess Frenchie, without him knowing it. It is now up to Sister Irene to rescue Frenchie from the demon and help all the other frightened girls in the school who are being terrorized by the entity.

It will help, of course, that she is a descendant of Santa Lucia or St. Lucy, who was took out her own eyes when tortured for being a Christian. Her persecutors try to burn her but she just won’t burn.

St. Lucy’s eyes are a relic hidden inside the school’s chapel and Valak wants to get it. The demon torments Sister Irene and tries to burn her but she won’t burn, just like her ancestor. And just like in the first movie, wine turned into the blood of Jesus Christ is used to get rid of Valak.

Will there be a Part 3? Well, judging from the fact that “The Nun II” is the numero uno movie in the U.S. now and doing well even worldwide, it’s safe to say that fans of the lucrative Valak will be seeing “The Nun” appear again a few years from now in another sequel.

But this is the kind of movie critics love to tear to pieces. They just cannot understand the need to bring her back and resuscitate her. Well, of course, for the added revenue to the franchise, what else?

The truth is we also can’t understand why a young and fragile looking nun is the best choice to fight the demon, who has a grand time tossing her up in the air like a rag doll then throwing her back into the ground. But the movie is actually banking on her great faith and her pedigree, being the relative of a bonafide saint like St. Lucy.

The movie, directed by Manuel Chaves of “Curse of La Llorona” and “Conjuring 3”, takes some time to build up the narrative, but it manages to sustain an ominous atmosphere of dread that builds up fear and tension in the viewers who then anticipate the coming fright moments.

And it does have many jump scare scenes where the satanic nun suddenly jumps out from the shadows to choke unsuspecting victims. They might appear as a cheap way to frighten audiences but they’re very effective to the viewers inside the theatre where we watched as they kept on screaming with delight.

But the most eerily conceived scene for us shows Sister Irene in front of a huge news stand rack where a hellish wind blows over the pages of the magazines in it, to come up with a pic collage of the evil nun incarnate.

The climactic finale is properly full of bombastic moments that make it more scary than its predecessor. It’s a spectacular over the top showdown to the finish between the demon and the nuns who are trying to get rid of him, with the barrels of wine turning into holy blood to fight the evil nun.