HOLLYWOOD—I thought “The Conjuring 2” was a stellar sequel. The scares were intense, the story was captivating and the villain, The Nun aka the demon Valak (Bonnie Aarons) sent chills down the spine. That film led to a spinoff “The Nun” which was quite entertaining. The success of that flick, leads us to our sequel, “The Nun II” which is a mixed bag for me. It is not better than the original, but when the scares peak they are amazing.
The big difference between the first flick and the second flick is the level of violence which is a bit more intense than its predecessor. There is more blood, more angst and The Nun seems a bit more vicious this time around. Back to do battle with the evil is Sister Irene Palmer (Taissa Farmiga), who barely survived the first go around.
This time around after a priest is viciously burned to death, in a rather riveting opening sequence, the film transitions to boarding school in France where Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), is working as a gardener and has bonded with a young girl at the school, Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey) who is being bullied by the other girls. The bond between Maurice and Sophie is sweet and it plays an important role to the narrative as the film progresses. Maurice shares a tight bond with Sophie and her mother Kate (Anna Popplewell).
For those not in the know, Maurice was vital to saving Sister Irene in the first flick, and those who may remember he was possessed in an odd turn of events by the demon. So it has been lingering inside him and is ready to attack, and the havoc created is tantalizing. Joining Sister Irene on her mission to find out what is happening with these series of murders is Sister Debra (Storm Reid). Reid is solid in the role, but nothing that stands out significantly.
“The Nun II” delivers some very solid scares. The problem is they are like a roller coaster. They build great they deliver and then it wanes for a period before it perks up again. That is not what I want to see in a horror flick. I want that tension to be nonstop and to continue to peak before you’re delivered a satisfying conclusion that is unforgettable. The ending of this movie is fantastic, a thrill-a-minute. That alley scene which was unfortunately teased in the trailer and countless TV spots is still eerie and well shot and the visual effects utilized are genius.
At the same time, this flick does something that is becoming a slight trend in horror that I’m not a fan of, unwarranted dark shots. The cinematography is so dark it is so frustrating. I could not tell what was going on, I could NOT see what was going on, it was literally leaving me screaming at the screen in frustration. Not a fan of the camera work by director Michael Chaves, but I give him kudos for building up suspenseful sequences that are iconic in my opinion.
If you’re looking for jump scares you might get a couple, but nothing as satisfying as its predecessor, but it has a solid narrative that hooks you and you’re along for the ride until the very end. “The Nun II” gives horror fans a taste of terror, when I wanted the actual buffet.