2023 was abundant in religious based horror movies, and while many were an absolute bust, I have to say that I quite liked “The Nun II.” I am well aware that I am in the minority in this regard, as “The Nun II” proves to be as divisive as the original film. The original works fine but is still the highest grossing film from “The Conjuring” universe; the producers don’t really aim for a soft reboot, this time continuing the saga of young Sister Irene and her new friend and colleague Sister Debra.
In 1956 France, five years after its temporary defeat at the Abbey of Saint Carta at the hands of Sister Irene, The Demon Nun Valak re-emerges after causing the horrible death of a local priest. Having escaped the Abbey within Frenchie’s soul, Valak’s now wreaking havoc across Europe and putting the young students of a French boarding school in jeopardy. Sister Irene is deployed to fight the demon again, and their battle reveals some pretty interesting details about Irene’s back story which pull into focus how Valak has chosen its targets.
One of the questions that “The Nun II” has me asking is where are they going with this storyline? Ultimately Sister Irene seems to be the number one nemesis against the demon nun Valak, so I’m fascinated to see where they’re going with her storyline. Is Sister Irene going to die at the hands of Valak? Is she going to become an ally to Ed and Lorraine in future films as a spiritual guide? Is Irene ultimately going to re-appear as an elderly woman? Why is Valak the connecting threads of Irene and Lorraine Warren? In either case, “The Nun II” is a solid horror thriller with some good scares, garners great performances from the entire cast, and delivers on an intriguing mystery.
I hope we get a finale of the Valak saga, eventually. Yes, I know very well that by all accounts Ed and Lorraine Warren were con artists, and I know the movies are all 95 percent fictionalized, but I don’t care. I’m enjoying the fictional Warren saga and “The Conjuring” movie universe for what it is.
The one-disc release garners a Digital Copy redemption code. Bonus features include just two short behind-the-scenes featurettes – which is sad considering you’d think Warner would be treating these money making vehicles like royalty, with deluxe editions by now. The Nun II: Demon in Paradise is a five minutes promotional featurette offering a quick look behind the scenes, with bits and pieces of concept/storyboard artwork, on-set footage, and brief interview snippets with producer James Wan, director Michael Chaves, actor Taissa Farmiga, and more. Handcrafted Nightmares is a seven minutes slightly more exploratory segment again featuring producer James Wan and director Michael Chaves, both of whw speak about the central villain’s look, the decision to use mostly practical effects, the “magazine newsstand” scene, and more.