Here is yet another beautifully shot film following last week’s The Equalizer 3. The painterly frames are gorgeous, including the one where the turning pages of magazines in a deserted newsstand coalesce to form the demon nun, Valak (Bonnie Aarons). However, The Nun II, the sequel to 2018’s The Nun and the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe, complete with a mid-credit sequence, is laid low by a weak, insubstantial plot.
The Nun II (English)
Director: Michael Chaves
Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Storm Reid, Anna Popplewell, Bonnie Aarons
Runtime: 110 minutes
Storyline: Sister Irene travels to France to investigate a series of murders, which point to the demon Valak, spreading evil across the land
It is 1956, in Tarascon, France. In a gracious church, Father Noiret (Pascal Aubert) and altar boy Jacques (Maxime Elias-Menet) go about their work. Jacque senses a disturbance and soon enough Valak is up to their nasty pyrotechnics. Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), after the horrors of four years before, is in a convent in Italy where in a scene that looked out of The Sound of Music, the Mother Superior complains about a novitiate, Sister Debra (Storm Reid), refusing to go for confession.
Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), meanwhile, is a handyman at a girl’s boarding school in France. There, he befriends one of the students, Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey), and her mum (Kate Anna Popplewell), who teaches at the school.
The cardinal, on hearing of the mysterious deaths across Europe, puts Sister Irene on the case. There is a detour into Indiana Jones/Dan Brown territory as the forces of good and evil are hot on the trail of a powerful holy relic that would change the world as we know it. There is also an ungodly red light shining through the eyes of a goat on a stained glass window — go figure.
This 11th movie inThe Conjuring Universe (who thought that scary little movie about the famous cases of a psychic investigator couple, which came out 10 years ago, would still be going strong) is not a notable addition to the series. The soundscape is loud and intrusive. Though it tries to bludgeon us into overlooking the cavernous plot holes, it fails spectacularly.
The Nun II is visually exquisite — that spinning wine glass and that hazy face in the wall grab the eye. You wish you could spend more time in those warmly lit frames without the long clangs and bangs that drag you out of a beautiful reverie to remind you of how silly the film actually is. There is not much gore and a negligible body count — bloodthirsty fans would have to wait for September 29 for Saw Xto slake that desire.
The Nun II is currently running in theatres