GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
THE NUN II ***
Directed by Michael Chaves.
Starring Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Storm Reid.
Horror, US, 110 minutes, certificate 15.
Released in cinemas in the UK 8th September by Warner Bros.
Ten years on and nine films later, with more to come, the Conjuring universe strides on weaving its fantastical lore around the adventures of spiritual investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. While the main Conjuring films are reliable staples of mainstream horror, the spin-offs are more of a mixed bag. How many people were clamouring for the sequel to the third spin-off, especially when the first Nun film was so unsatisfying?
Taking place four years after the unholy carry-on at the Santa Cartha monastery, the sinister demon Valak, seems to have donned the habit once more as she cuts a swathe through Europe, murdering any priests who cross her path. Sister Irene, now living the quiet life in a monastery in Italy, is enlisted by the Vatican to investigate how and why the demonic cosplayer is back. Meanwhile, at a boarding school in France, Maurice aka Frenchie, is now working as a groundskeeper, hiding the fact that he was once possessed by an evil nun to himself, and making friends with young pupil Sophie and her mother Kate, who teaches at the school. When Irene experiences a vision of Maurice in trouble, she races towards another confrontation with evil while stumbling across a mystery from centuries before.
While there may not be a definitive answer to the mystery of how much audience demand there was for a Nun sequel, the fact that this is the most entertaining film in the expansive franchise since the second Conjuring film is a welcome one. Michael Chaves, returning to directing duties after helming THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA and THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, conjures (sorry!) some truly impressive visuals here and, for the most part, avoids the usual jump-bang scares that usually populate this series. The script also makes better use of its main characters this time around, with Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet giving much more appealing performances with the deepening suspicion that Maurice could be a keystone to the whole franchise.
The film flies by in a highly entertaining fashion, leaving the viewer little time to scrutinise some of the paper-thin plotting in the moment. When we get to a thunderous third act where everything comes together it barely matters. The fact that these films are still cheekily purporting to be based on true events only adds to their huckster charm. By the time you get to the SE7EN-inspired end credits and all too brief mid-credits scene that suggests a more direct connection to the main franchise, the sense and hope that these films are back on solid ground seems to be more firmly now.
If Chaves returns for the already announced CONJURING: BLOODLINES, the franchise could be in a safe and now reliable pair of hands where all sorts of demonic nuns and possessed dolls will no doubt draw the attention of the Warren family. Here is hoping that the sense of sinister fun is matched by a sense of terror that has been missing from these films since the beginning.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans