The Nun II Review: Valak delivers creative scares and a cool visual style but falls short in the Conjuring Universe

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulSep 08, 2023 | 18:29

The Nun II Review: Valak delivers creative scares and a cool visual style but falls short in the Conjuring Universe

The Nun II presents a fresh addition to the Conjuring universe, offering a blend of  innovative new scares and a distinctive visual aesthetic. While it manages to keep the franchise's legacy alive, it struggles to ascend to the level of excellence that Conjuring fans have come to expect.

The Conjuring franchise, now eight films deep, has managed to maintain its grip on horror enthusiasts, consistently delivering box office success and genuine chills. The Nun II is the latest installment, serving as a direct sequel to its 2018 predecessor.


The surprising standout in the film is the genuine effort put into craftig its narrative. The script, penned by Akela Cooper, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Niang, demonstrates a marked improvement over its predecessor, engaging the audience with a well-paced, suspenseful plot that weaves together a complex possession story while enhancing the Conjuring lore.

Director Michael Chaves deserves commendation for his ability to build tension effectively. Unlike his most recent endeavors in the franchise with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which was criticized for the efficacy of its scares, The Nun II showcases the power of patient pacing in horror.

The film's pacing maintains a steady and suspenseful tempo, pulling the audience into its period sitting. Chaves employs silence, shadows and atmospheres to create an unsettling sense of "what's lurking around the corner."

The film's reliance on practical effects is a refreshing departure from the CGI-heavy trends of modern horror. This choice pays off handsomely, as the film delivers memorable, hair-raising moments that leave us questioning how they were achieved.

Notably, the newsstand attack scene, heavily teased in the film's promotional material, impressively combines practical effects and in-camera techniques. The scene delivers a heightened level of suspense, taking the scare factor up a notch and reminding you that the popcorn you're clutching might just end up in the air.


Through cleverly explored lore and clever use of previous footage, The Nun II bridges disparate parts of the Conjuring franchise, leaving fans eager to revisit earlier entries. Chaves also pays homage to past scares and visual elements from the franchise, weaving them into the film. The newspaper stand scene in itself, bears a resemblance to the opening scene in The Conjuring 2, where Lorraine Warren is first attacked by Valak. 

Adding to the film's atmospheric horror is the introduction of a new goat monster conjured by Valak. Drawing from centuries-old satanic lore, this grotesque figure leaves a lasting impression alongside Valak and Annabelle, enriching the Conjuring universe's myriad ghouls.

Even the film's set pieces - particularly the climactic showdown in a repurposed monastery/winery/boarding school - offer an unnerving (albeit gorgeous) backdrop for the grand finale. 

But, alas, not everything is a scream in The Nun II. 

Despite these strengths, the film falls short in its mythology-heavy plot that is handled hastily, leaving little room for deep exploration. This rushed approach robs the movie of the weight it could have carried, preventing the audience from fully immersing themselves in the intricate web of the Conjuring universe.


While Taissa Framiga's Sister Irene and Jonas Bloquet's Frenchie serve as likable protagonists, their character development remains somewhat shallow. The film attempts at delving into Irene's traumatic past, shedding light on her journey to the church, but this backstory feels underdeveloped. Similarly, Frenchie's character arc lacks the depth needed to make it truly compelling. 

The introduction of Storm Ried's Sister Debra, a promising character with an interesting setup, also falls flat as her role becomes dominated by her status as the audience's surrogate.

As the Conjuring franchise reaches its ninth feature entry in just a decade, it remains a powerhouse in the horror genre. While the mythologies within the series may appear convoluted and the scares somewhat formulaic, these movies consistently offer a brand of creepy comfort food. 

Despite its pitfalls, The Nun II continues to deliver that sought-after blend of familiarity and terror, appealing to fans with its atmospheric storytelling and practical effects. 

We're going with 3 out of 5 stars for The Nun II.

Last updated: September 08, 2023 | 18:29
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