“The Nun II” hit theaters Sept. 8, just before peak Halloween fever. The film serves as the direct sequel to — as you have probably guessed — The Nun (2018), and the eighth film overall in “The Conjuring” franchise.
The movie is set in 1956 and opens in a suitably terrifying manner. A young altar boy in Tarascon, France becomes frightened after some unexplained disturbances as he is working in his church with a priest, Father Noiret, who investigates the unexplained disturbances. A pair of glowing eyes in the dark later and Noiret is lifted into the air and subsequently set alight and burns to death.
The central characters of the film are quickly established. Maurice, a character from the first film, who works as a handyman in a boarding school in France, a young student named Sophie, her mother and a teacher at the convent, Kate. We are also introduced to Sister Irene from the first film, who now serves in a convent in Italy, and a young rebellious novice named Debra. A powerful Cardinal and his retinue travels to meet with Sister Irene. He explains that across Eastern Europe there has been a series of horrifying and unexplained deaths, including a priest who seemingly cut his own throat during Christmas Mass. The Cardinal attributes these deaths to a demon. He tasks Sister Irene with finding out what this demon wants and essentially stopping it. However, he provides no help, money or sympathy to Sister Irene’s now difficult and dangerous task so I was slightly confused at his shock when Sister Irene first tells him “no,” as any sane person would. However, the plot must move forward, and Sister Irene sets off for France, with Sister Debra sneaking in on her train to join her on her quest.
It is established that Maurice has become possessed by the demon Valak following the ending of the previous film. Events now move quickly. A few possessed altar boys and dead nuns later, we learn that the demon wants some sort of relic hidden in the convent school in France.
Sister Irene and Sister Debra hightail it to the school and confront Valak/Maurice. It’s here the movie enters into slightly bizarre territory involving a stained glass window of a goat with laser eyes. Said goat later becomes real and chases some terrified girls around for a bit.
The movie ends as you would probably suspect. That is one of the main flaws of the film—its predictability and lack of originality. As the eighth installment in “The Conjuring” franchise, creativity and imagination has somewhat plateaued. There is only so much Catholic horror one can take before it all starts to feel the same. However, that is not to say the movie was bad. I enjoyed the cinematography and the pacing of the film. The film also is set on terrifying as many children for life as possible.
Overall, “The Nun II” offers little novelty but is still a fun ride. For fans of gothic supernatural horror, I would recommend watching.