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Taissa+Farmiga+stars+in+The+Nun+II.+Photo+permission+from+Warner+Bros+Entertainment%2FBruno+Calvo%2FTNS.
Tribune News Service
Taissa Farmiga stars in “The Nun II.” Photo permission from Warner Bros Entertainment/Bruno Calvo/TNS.

[Review] ‘The Nun II’ horrifies fans with unoriginal plot

With the lack of originality in the media industry today, sequels are all the rage. Most revamps are not as entertaining or well-developed as their predecessors. The Conjuring franchise, however, delivered a jump scare-filled sequel. “The Nun II” was released on Sept. 6, 2023, and was directed by Micheal Chaves, who also directed “The Conjuring 3, The Devil Made Me Do It” and “The Curse of La Llorona.” “The Nun II” is the ninth installment of the famous horror franchise.

The appearance of demonic nuns in “The Conjuring 2,” released in 2016, triggered the prequel spin-off movie “The Nun,” which starred Sister Irene played by Taissa Farmiga which was released in 2018.

This movie starts like most horror movies with a brutal murder. A priest bursts into flames whilst levitating, the whole scene being witnessed by an altar boy, who would later recount his perspective to Sister Irene.

The infamous demonic nun Valak, played by Bonnie Aarons, is shown as a shadow on the wall shrinking into the shape of a man walking away from the church after the priest’s dead body is shown.

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“The Nun II” takes place in France, four years after the ending of “The Nun.” The unlikely hero from the first movie, Maurice or “Frenchie,” played by Jonas Bloquet, works at a monastery turned catholic girl’s boarding school, which is the main setting of the movie. Frenchie is later found to be possessed by the demonic antagonist.

The other clairvoyant hero, Sister Irene, hides away from the horrors of the events at St. Carta, Romania, in an Italian convent where she befriended Sister Debra, played by Storm Reid.

This is Storm Reid’s breakthrough role in a horror film; although, her role as Sister Debra places her in more of a sidekick role to Irene. Her character serves as a window into western culture, with her backstory consisting of early 1950s period-typical racial prejudices. Reid’s acting was decent, her character is cynical and fearless and those things were really shown through.

When asked by the Church to investigate a series of murders of religious figures across Europe, Sister Irene initially declines until she has a vision of the death and destruction that the demon could cause if it finds a lost Catholic artifact. Her call to action causes her to leave the convent to fight Valak with the assistance of Sister Debra. In order to save themselves and the girls who attend the boarding school, they must find the lost artifact that could successfully banish the demon once and for all.

Sound effects of horror movies are either dealmakers or dealbreakers. Unfortunately for this particular horror flick, the eerie music and other cliche horror noises take away from the scare factor. Cinematography is also an important element in horror films, yet this film lacked just that with lots of slow pans and out of focus background shots. These allowed for viewers to know the jump scares are coming up five minutes in advance. Even though the build-up to the jump scares are obvious, they are still quite flinch-worthy.

The lighting is also standard for a horror film with flickering lights along long hallways and the constant use of dark corners. Yet, it successfully brings an eerie ambiance to the setting. The special effects team decided to throw in a poorly-designed CGI goat demon that was only used to keep the supporting characters occupied while the main characters fought the demon nun. The goat served no greater purpose than minimally adding to the scare factor.

The movie seems to follow the theme of a mystery movie with horror elements. It combines elements of a whodunit with a scavenger hunt while still managing to have a big CGI battle at the end where the power of belief suddenly becomes a physical power, like turning wine into holy blood. This movie also included the cliché where the power was inside the character all along.

It felt as though the writers did not know how to wrap up the main storyline in a way that would be pleasing to fans. The movie was a fun watch, but at the same time, it was disappointing in the scariness aspect. An original plot line was needed after all the sub-par sequels released in the last few years.

Fans were expecting something new while at the same time receiving an entertaining horror movie. Even with all of its faults, this movie managed to get a good scare out of the people who went to see it in theaters. Fans of the horror genre would enjoy this movie because–even if it did not live up to its expectations– it is still a good movie to watch.

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About the Contributor
Darryn Pomerantz-Duffy
Darryn Pomerantz-Duffy is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a first year staffer. In Darryn's free time, he likes to relax with a book while listening to either a Taylor Swift or Imagine Dragons CD.
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