The Nun II

This sequel conjures up too many scares.

Here’s one of my opening quotes in my review of “The Nun” back in 2018.

“No matter what the trailers say (“The Darkest Chapter in the Conjuring Universe”), it’s still the same old jump-scares, and lackluster tone.”

Now, 5 years later, we have “The Nun II,” which features the jump scares of this demonic nun, including a scene that wants to rip off the hallway twins in “The Shining,” and another one with something that looks like the evil cousin of the Faun from “Pan’s Labyrinth.” At least, I think so, because it was too dark for me to clearly see it. And out of these movie-inspired moments, my favorite has to be one that loves the famous bridge scene in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” I like the way that sequence was executed.

The story now takes place in France of 1956.

Taissa Farmiga (daughter of Vera Farmiga) reprises her role as the young nun Irene, who is called by the church to investigate the a series of murders. She’s joined by the rebellious Debra (Storm Reid), who becomes a worthy alley. Don’t let her cigarette-smoking fool you.

Among the places that needs to be examine, there’s a boarding school for girls. It’s run by the no-nonsense Madame Laurent (Suzanne Bertish), and its alumni includes the kind handyman Maurice-formally known as Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet from “Elle”), his love interest-the teacher Kate (Anna Popplewell from “The Chronicles of Narnia”), her daughter Sophie (Kaitlyn Rose Downey from “The Princess”), and the obligatory bullies. When they take away the friendship bracelet Sophie made for Maurice (whom they accuse of him being her boyfriend), he doesn’t resort to violence (after all, they are girls), but rather his words and his shifty hands.

And he also yells at them when they lock her in a forbidden room where the demonic nun threatens her.

Maurice was also the one who saved Irene’s life in the last film, and they reunite happily. Unfortunately, this demonic nun possesses him alive for an ancient relic. And both Irene and Debra must save him.

This time, “The Nun II” was directed by Michael Chaves, whose “Conjuring” repertoire also consists of the awful “Curse of the La Llorona” and the mediocre “Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.” He is a horror filmmaker, who is very good at make his entries look scary with the right production designs and some good performances, but is not so good at finding the right scripts to truly conjure up some terrors.

I admire the performances from Farmiga, Reid, Bloquet, and Popplewell, and the sets are great to look at. I basically have the same reactions towards this sequel as I did with the original. It’s not lousy, and it has its moments, but it just doesn’t apply to me.

Funny thing: a few weeks ago, many theaters celebrated National Cinema Day, by charging all movie showtimes in any format $4. At Monmouth Mall 15, where I usually would attend, things spun out of control. Not because of the popcorn messes, but because of the crowds and fights that broke out. And as far as I know, two teenagers were arrested, and security guards have cracked down hard. Like anyone underage on Friday nights must be accompanied by adults hard.

If “The Nun II” came out that weekend, it probably would have been more dangerous. I’d guess that because of how jump scares usually attract movie-goers, who, in this genre, I like to call horror moths. Leave the screaming in the theaters, and not in the hallways or entrance. And I’m talking, of course, about the screams of terror, which seems to get exhausting. But people are still going to scream at horror films, so what can I do?

Rating: 2.5 out of 4.

This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.

Categories: Horror, Mystery, Sequel, Thriller

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