Directed by: Michael Chaves
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Written by Alexander Reams
Any semblance of hope for Michael Chaves to be the successor to James Wan in the “Conjuring” universe died in the first five minutes of the shamefully poor “The Nun II.” Chaves employed wonderfully lit camerawork in his previous entry “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.” I spoke about the film back in 2021 and my praise still rings true. Unfortunately, that is traded in for what is unfortunately what has become the industry standard, flat lighting in daytime, and none in darker scenes. Jacques (Maxime Elias-Menet) roams around the dark catacombs of the church, but without the sound, it would be impossible to tell what happens in the frame throughout this sequence. Eventually when the first scare climaxes there is light, and it’s an effective scare, but it rings hollow because so much of the setup was lost to the inadequate lighting.
Taissa Farmiga returns in her role as Sister Irene, now a seasoned member of the Conjuring Universe. Strange things happen to people close to her, Maurice (Jonas Bloquet) returns only to be a meat puppet for the plot as Valak, the titular nun. The family he became close to is drawn into the path of Valak, this time it’s Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey) and Kate (Anna Popplelwell). Their characters were clearly written thinly and they feel entirely inconsequential to the actions of any character other than to manipulate an emotional reaction from the audience seeing them in danger.
The plot line that draws Valak back into the spotlight is another “MacGuffin” story, there’s a thing that has to be protected otherwise the demon will be all-powerful again. It is the same line from “The Conjuring 2” (which first introduced the demon), and “The Nun.” And if there was any expectation or hope of seeing something new by the end then the disappointment is only continued, only relief is felt by the time the credits roll. It’s horror filmmaking at its laziest, and frankly shocking considering the promise that Chaves showed, but if the Conjuring Universe ends now, it ends with a whimper.
“The Nun II” Trailer