Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Nun II

♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

A priest in France levitates and spontaneously combusts, leaving a terrified young boy running away. The news does not bode well for Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) who now resides in a convent in Italy. After her supernatural confrontation with Valak (Bonnie Aarons), life has been relatively quiet and more easygoing. Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), on the other hand, has also moved on with his life working at a boarding school in France but not knowing that Valak has latched onto him, terrorizing the residents of the boarding school without his knowledge. As news of the renewed demonic attacks reach the Vatican, Sister Irene is summoned once more and sent against her will to investigate. It does not take long for her to realize that what they are about to face is a familiar evil she has already dealt with before. With a new ally in a reluctant Sister Debra (Storm Reid), she faces off once again with the sinister nun.

I was one of those to immediately dismiss the announcement of a sequel to 2019’s The Nun as another cash grab opportunity taking advantage of the clout that The Conjuring cinematic universe has built up over the years, and not without reason. For one, the first film did not really propose anything new and felt like a blatant capitalization on a popular side character. Luckily, the sequel tries to throw in some Catholic lore into the storyline and, in some way, succeeds in a rare case of surpassing the original.

Sister Irene gets some supernatural help from a relic belonging to Saint Lucy, injecting some Catholic lore into the storyline. While innovative, the writers do not take advantage of this McGuffin and simply wedges it into the plot as a device to get things over with. It is a shame because they seem to be on to something here. It is sad that there is no follow through. Perhaps what we can look forward to now is whether Sister Irene is somehow related to Lorraine Warren. After all, aren’t the actresses playing them sisters in real life? Since there seems to be a possibility of a Part 3, perhaps we will get some answers.

Despite all of this, the sequel still fails to make sense, maybe because the ending of the first movie already served as a neat transition to The Conjuring II. The ending of this sequel does not help either. So, did that post-credits scene of Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Nun exorcising a possessed Maurice happen before or after this film? If it was before, then we definitely missed how that played out. It wasn't even hinted upon here. If it was after, then it only means Valak will be coming back again to latch onto Maurice the second time around. If that is the case, then it’d just feel contrived as hell at that point.

Other than that, The Nun II is still your typical James Wan flavored horror story, despite not being directed by him. You have your jumpscares left and right, but the plot still runs thin. The post credits scene is yet another clip connecting this story to Ed and Lorraine Warren. And if we are to trust that the eyes of Saint Lucy worked its magic, then Valak should be dead for good, right? Right? Well, nobody really stays dead for long in this cinematic universe so expect our favorite nun to come back for another round of scares down the line.

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