Dog’s Movie House: “The Nun II” an improvement over the first film, but still not quite on the level of James Wan’s Conjuring films!
Taking place in France in 1956, “The Nun II” features the return of Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), no longer an initiate and serving in a convent with her friend, a young Sister named Debra (the always entertaining Storm Reid). Her quiet time of self-reflection is shattered with the Catholic Church turns to her to investigate a series of deaths of priests in bizarre and horrifying ways, all of which carry the hallmarks of the Demon Nun, presumed destroyed at the end of the previous film. Irene and Debra’s investigation leads them to a private girls school in France where the Nun is searching for something to increase her power. Also there is Irene’s ally from the first film, the handyman Maurice (Jonas Bloquet) whose sacrafice in the first film becomes readily apparent during the course of this narrative. Needless to say, Maurice has a connection to the Demon Nun even he doesn’t know about, not only putting himself in danger, but the lives of his close friends, a teacher named Kate (Anna Popplewell) and her daughter, the precious Sophie (a very good Katelyn Rose Downey. It’s up to Irene and Debra to stop the Demon Nun before she regains full power and runs rampant over the countryside.
As a straightfoward horror film, “The Nun II” succeeds as a solid scare flick. The Nun (Bonnie Aarons) is more present in this film and Director Michael Chaves has a good time having her hide in the shadows, coming up with unique ways of stalking and attacking her prey. There is a nice creepy vibe that creates a genuine sense of suspense here and I’m not ashamed to admit that I jumped a couple of times and none of the scares were red herrings. The ending is a little silly but consistent but also plays into the idea of faith, especially when it comes to Debra, who’s not sure how much she believes.
The performances are uniformly good from the cast, with Farminga and Reid playing off each other nicely and Bloquet is very good as the conflicted Maurice, a man whose prior selflessness has led him to a situation in which he is not entirely in control of his own actions, The scares are very good, especially during the first two-thirds of the film. It holds you in it’s grip and The Nun is a truly terrifying adversary.
Where “The Nun II” loses some steam is during the finale. It becomes more of an action horror, foregoing suspense and dread for spectacle. It lessons the effectiveness of the first part of the move and substitutes the growing dread with lots of screaming, running and some good old fashioned property damage. Also the powers of the Nun are somewhat inconsistent at times. Sometimes she seems to be alomst all powerful (an early appearance in a church proves that hallowed ground means nothing to her.) Other times she seems to be limited by some outside factors. There may be some reasons for this, but I would have liked some form of explanation to help me understand.
Overall though, “The Nun II” is a nice addition to the Conjuring Universe even if it’s not perfect. It doesn serve as an effective horror film with solid scares, good performances, and a soon-to-be iconic villain in the Demon Nun. (Seriously, she’s one scary lady!) Definitely worth your time. 3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!