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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

The Nun II

We went to a haunted carnival last night and it was a lot of fun. I got to do the bumper cars with President Baby and he LOVED it! Hearing him laugh with delight every time we ran into somebody or were run into brought me so much joy. There was also a costume contest so we're just waiting on the email letting us know that our Boo King (that's what President Baby calls King Boo from Mario) costumes won first prize! After all that fun, I settled down to watch...

The Nun II (2023)

Before I get into the meat of this review, I decided to see what I felt about the first Nun movie. I really liked it, it got an impressive 8 Dr. Chainsaws! One of my complaints was the over-reliance on jump scares and people going to investigate every single noise to set into motion a jump scare or some spookiness. I can tell you that not much has changed in that department.

We pick up the story sometime after the events of the first movie. As you remember, Frenchie was possessed at the end and now he's unwittingly traveling to different places so Valak can murder its way to a powerful Catholic artifact. After some high-profile killings, Sister Irene meets with a Cardinal who tells her that she has to go find the artifact first and use it to send Valak back to Hell. You see, Valak is a former angel that was shunned by God so it's more powerful than your average demon and if it gets its hands on the eyes of St. Lucy, it will regain its powers and be super evil.

Sister Irene protests and asks why not send Father Burke, the protagonist from the first, but we're told he died due to cholera. This bummed me out as I liked him and Sister Irene together. The director gave some excuse why he killed off Father Burke but it doesn't make sense. Instead, he pairs Sister Irene with Sister Debra so the movie can have the same dynamic between the leads from the original movie. It's not all bad though, with less Father Burke we get more of Sister Irene who is a really good character. She's played by Taissa Farmiga, the sister of series regular Vera Farmiga. Taissa also played the protagonist in my favorite movie so far this month, The Final Girls so I'm happy she's getting more screen time.

While watching the movie, I couldn't help but feel it was a very paint-by-the-numbers horror movie. It's scary, but you know exactly when the scares are coming and how they're going to be. Valak, as cool as it is, doesn't have the same effect in this one. Alright, screw it, for simplicity's sake, I'm going to refer to Valak as "she" because that's the form she takes. It's getting weird to keep referring to her as "it." Sadly, she's not quite as scary anymore. The first time we see her in the original movie is such a fantastic reveal. Seeing her slowly appear out of a dark tunnel with wisps of fog at her feet is super chilling. A nun even commits suicide rather than deal with her, so you know this demon means business. In this one, there are some spooky shenanigans and then she saunters into a church, uses her power to make a priest float and then immediately engulfs him in flames.

It's a cool scene but pales in comparison to the first time we see her. But it also brings up a question of power levels. She is incredibly powerful, I mean, she immediately was able to subdue and kill this priest. While it's important to show off the threat early, it brings up the question later why she's letting these people run away from her when she could easily wipe them all out at the drop of a hat.

In my opinion, every movie in The Conjuring universe has been good. Some are better than others and the branch-off films are missing the incredible chemistry between Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, but still, there's always something to like about each one. This one, sadly, is the series' first miss. Valak is cool and all, but it's kinda, been there, done that. Valak has made an appearance in four movies and we already know the endgame for her and Frenchie. It's fun watching these characters go on their journey but at the end of the first The Nun we see how it ends for Frenchie and we've seen Valak's demise in Conjuring 2. It's one of the problems with prequels, we already know what's going to happen and it takes out a little of the suspense.

It's not all bad. The finale is probably the biggest highlight. Despite the silly game of keep-away that Valak plays with Sisters Irene and Debra, it's very cool. I love how they end up defeating Valak too. It's unique, it calls back to an earlier conversation and it looks awesome. The supporting characters were interesting enough and, once again, I liked the setting of the movie. The former monastery-turned-boarding school makes for good chases and includes cool set pieces. It also packs plenty of scares, but most of them are just to get you to jump. It's OK, but I put it near, if not, at the bottom of The Conjuring Universe.

5.5 Dr. Chainsaws!

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