The Nun 2 review: a louder, occasionally scarier sequel

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Sister Irene holds a rosary successful The Nun 2.

“The Nun 2 is simply a much assaultive, in-your-face scary movie than its 2018 predecessor, but it still falls short of nan Conjuring franchise's best, James Wan-directed installments.”


  • An arresting prologue
  • A memorable, aggravated midpoint chapel sequence
  • Taissa Farmiga's likable lead performance


  • The film's champion sequences person a inclination to extremity successful a lackluster fashion
  • An uneven, exposition-heavy screenplay
  • Numerous level supporting characters

The Nun 2 begins, arsenic it should, successful nan darkened halls and stairwells of a church. The twelvemonth is 1956. The state is France. The belief is definitively Catholic. These specifications each travel quickly, pinch nan movie spending its opening moments pinch a young altar boy who has unknowingly caught nan attraction of Valak (Bonnie Aarons), nan demon that has been masquerading arsenic a malevolent nun onscreen ever since 2017’s The Conjuring 2. Before long, Valak is actively terrorizing its latest target — resetting his stool erstwhile he’s not looking and rolling his shot ball backmost astatine him from nan different extremity of a long, seemingly endless corridor.

In these moments, head Michael Chaves expertly and patiently ratchets up nan hostility — stretching retired nan moments of soundlessness betwixt Valak’s attacks until you tin hardly guidelines it. By nan clip nan scene-stealing demon has yet shown its unnaturally chalk-white face, The Nun 2 has already reached greater heights than its 2018 predecessor. However, successful a misguided effort to animate daze and fear, Chaves goes agleam and large — punctuating nan film’s different impeccable prologue pinch a fiery exclamation people that doesn’t time off 1 astir arsenic shaken arsenic each nan moments of quiet, pungent dread that precede it.

The Nun 2’s opening establishes a rhythm of diminishing returns that nan movie itself refuses to deviate from. There are flashes of near-silent, bone-chilling scary brilliance scattered passim nan latest installment of Warner Bros.’ ever-growing Conjuring Universe, but they’re almost ever followed by images of blunt-force unit that do thing but dull nan effect of its sharpest moments.

Sophie looks astatine an outline of Valak successful The Nun 2.Warner Bros. Pictures

Unlike The Nun, which is group almost exclusively successful early 1950s Romania, nan caller sequel spends astir of its clip successful France. Picking up 4 years aft nan events of its genitor film, The Nun 2 finds Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) surviving a quiet life astatine a countryside convent wherever she has go accelerated friends pinch Sister Debra (Storm Reid), whose rebellious streak and struggles pinch her ain Catholic religion person made her a nuisance for nan remainder of their Holy Sisters. Irene’s serene beingness is disrupted, however, erstwhile she’s ordered to analyse a way of belief murders spanning a not-insignificant information of Western Europe.

Irene’s ngo leads her and Debra to a French boarding schoolhouse wherever her erstwhile friend and savior, Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), has started a caller occupation arsenic a handyman. Unbeknownst to them, Maurice didn’t make it retired of his and Irene’s erstwhile brushwood pinch Valak arsenic free arsenic they’d thought. Instead, he has go a alloy for nan demon, who uses him to transportation retired a bid of murders and frightful encounters arsenic portion of a hunt for a Christian relic that could make Valak moreover much powerful. Structurally, The Nun 2 spends astir of its runtime planting nan seeds for Sister Irene and Maurice’s eventual reunion — bouncing betwixt sequences of axenic scary involving nan second characteristic and nan moments of investigation carried retired by Farmiga’s clear-eyed heroine, who besides experiences a fewer ominous visions on nan way.

The film’s script, penned by Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing, and M3GAN writer Akela Cooper, struggles to onslaught an moreover equilibrium betwixt its 2 halves. Its pacing sags passim its 2nd act, which has a wont of becoming truthful focused connected explaining its eponymous villain’s actions and expanding nan belief lore surrounding some Valak and Sister Irene that it fails to stay arsenic consistently scary aliases atmospheric arsenic 1 would like. While nan intent of Irene’s supernatural visions becomes progressively clear complete nan people of nan film’s runtime, too, only 1 of them packs overmuch of a punch. The remainder consciousness mostly superfluous, particularly fixed really agelong it takes for nan characteristic to portion together nan clues that will lead her backmost to Maurice and, by extension, his demonic possessor.

Sister Irene looks astatine a mag collage of Valak successful The Nun 2.Warner Bros. Pictures

Michael Chaves, whose erstwhile credits see The Curse of La Llorona and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, brings a punchier touch to The Nun 2 than his predecessor, Corin Hardy. However, he fails to replicate nan powerfulness that James Wan created pinch Valak’s debut successful The Conjuring 2. Not only does Chaves’ camera wander, pan, and recreation little than Wan’s, but it besides lacks nan maximalist, full-throated power that makes nan first 2 Conjuring movies truthful impactful. In general, The Nun 2 is missing nan kinetic power of The Conjuring 2, which renders Valak much terrifying than either of nan character’s solo movies.

To his credit, Chaves does make nan astir of The Nun 2’s quieter group pieces, including 1 late-night travel done a destroyed chapel that is masterfully paced, shot, and edited. When nan film’s book allows it to wantonness immoderate of its ain restrictive logic and spell absurdly large successful its 3rd act, Chaves besides frames Irene’s last conflict pinch Valak successful a measurement that emphasizes its standard without sacrificing nan spatial consciousness needed to support up pinch it. Farmiga, meanwhile, again manages to imbue Sister Irene, a perchance one-note character, pinch capable humanity to efficaciously crushed The Nun 2’s outsized plot.

Sister Irene floats successful beforehand of Valak successful The Nun 2.Warner Bros. Pictures

The film’s different performers don’t get nan aforesaid chance. Even Reid’s Sister Debra is group up to beryllium a much analyzable characteristic than she really proves to be. The flatness of The Nun 2’s supporting heroes is, unfortunately, emblematic of galore of nan film’s problems. Ultimately, it’s a scary movie that knows really to ray a fuse and fto it burn, but it struggles to present pay-offs that are arsenic satisfying, shocking, aliases scary arsenic they should be. As acold arsenic scary movies go, it’s nan big-screen balanced of a container of 99-cent statement snaps. It’s large and explosive, sure, but nan scorch marks it leaves down are negligible astatine best.

The Nun 2 is now playing successful theaters. For much specifications astir nan movie’s conclusion, please publication The Nun 2‘s ending, explained.

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