I am a fan of the Conjuring Universe. I’m well aware that their movies are widely considered “basic” by critics with generally cheap jump scares. HOWEVER, you can’t deny the cultural significance and impact this franchise has made on the horror community and general public. This franchise is this generation’s “Universal Monsters” essentially. With that said, The Nun 2 was a pleasant surprise, and I certainly didn’t expect it to be my pick of the week!
First, let’s address the scares. Yes, there are your regular jump scares throughout the film, but they didn’t feel as cheap. Sidenote; I loved the staircase scene. I felt like it was right at my own heels. You’ll know it when you see it. I felt like there was more effort put into the buildup to these scares. The demon doesn’t just jump out at you all the time. There’s little visuals and hints that it is present and about to make itself seen. This creates a feeling of foreboding, something wicked approaching the audience, and I appreciate this when I’ve come to expect the opposite from the Conjuring Universe! Build that tension and then release it on us; this makes for a much more fun experience.
Secondly, this sequel delivered with the visuals. Bodies tear, burn, and dissolve, and it looks cool. I wouldn’t say it was gory, though, so I wouldn’t worry too much if you’re squeamish. Not giving too much away, when Valek rises, finally showing itself, and we see a shining silver halo emitting from behind its silhouette, I was gooped! It looked so haunting and evokes the classic halo of light seen behind classic depictions of Jesus Christ, which makes sense since demons are said to mock religious figures. But my absolute favorite was the magazine stand scene in the alleyway. All the pages continued to shift and flip, with tons of images slowly creating the form of the demon. Sound design was great here as well when time seemed to move in slow motion, once again building that feeling of dread.
This is a franchise at the end of the day, so I was expecting the plot to contribute to the lore of the Conjuring Universe, and it did just that. By the end, we get a setup for what seems to be the next Conjuring movie, The Last Rites. Not just that, but we finally learn more about Taissa Farmiga’s character’s history and the demon itself and what it seeks. The story utilizes another ancient religious relic, almost like a super power or tool of some sort. Honestly, it was this aspect that came off a bit cheesy in a movie where they are trying to deliver some serious scares.
The Nun 2 was a good horror film in general and a nice contribution to the Conjuring Universe. It wasn’t perfect, but it stood its ground. I can see this being popular with the public years later and would definitely be rented out at Blockbuster if that was still a thing today. Overall, if you’re a fan of the Conjuring Universe, you won’t want to miss this installment, and if you’re a general audience member, it will still be a fun watch, perhaps to get into the spooky season. The Nun 2 gets 3 out of 5 buckets of popcorn from me. Catch it in theatres before it’s gone!