I feel like I should review a horror film that I’ve seen at the cinema in the month of October. Disappointingly, though, the offer was extremely limited. I had not heard very good things about the latest Exorcist movie, and not much else was running. So I reluctantly opted for ‘The Nun II‘ – reluctantly, because I had previously watched the first film and hated it. While it effectively used its spooky Transylvanian setting, it failed at pretty much everything else – had a passable set of characters, unimaginative plot, and most severely – the main antagonist got boring really quick. However, encouraged by a couple of reviews calling it ‘slightly better than the original’, I decided to go and watch it.
‘The Nun II’ takes place in 1956, and initially develops on two fronts. First of all, Sister Irene now lives on a convent in Italy, and tries to detach herself from the traumatic events she suffered in Transylvania. Meanwhile, Maurice (about whose existence I must say I had completely forgotten) works at a boarding school in France, where he befriends Sophie – a young Irish student – and her mother Kate.Then, a mysterious killing of a priest right in the middle of his church in Tarascon, France prompts an investigation from the Vatican, and Sister Irene gets involved. It doesn’t take long until the two story arcs predictably interlock.
Let’s start with the good things, which in my opinion were very few. Some nice cinematography here and there, despite the overuse of CGI. A certain sequence at a noticeboard on an dark cobblestone street in a medieval-looking French town had my interest for a larger amount of time than the whole rest of the film put together. And while the Italian location was barely used, the series continues its inspired selection of spooky locations, with Tarascon in particular doing very well in this regard.
❝More poorly paced than the original.❞
The bad? Pretty much everything else. It was as generic as it could get in terms of characters, storyline and plot structure – and more poorly paced than the original. The first film, while extremely generic as well, was at least partly entertaining, and this is the very least I would ask of a jump scare flick. But while watching ‘The Nun II’, I got bored, and I find that very unfortunate. In terms of horror, there’s no tension at all – you understand the basics of it from the first scene (and actually you’d know how things would go from the first film, if you remember much from it – which I didn’t), and the same two things happen again and again whenever the titular Nun makes her presence. Feels pretty much like super basic programming: if the character in the dark hallway/room is a secondary character, they will get killed within a few seconds by the Nun. If the character is one of the main ones, the Nun will be happy to simply stare, jump around and screech for a while before chasing off someone else. ‘The Nun’ really doesn’t have any aces up her sleeves, no new tricks, nothing special – just another movie.
❝You can find around a plot hole per minute.❞
There’s no gradual build-up of tension (except that one scene I was mentioning before), it’s simply release after release via boring jump scares, and that’s pretty much it. The final encounter feels very subdued as well, and you can find around a plot hole per minute if you think about the sequencing of the events. Which you will think of, inevitably, because you’re bored out of your mind while watching a film’s final act. Not exactly prime horror movie making, right?
Not sure what else I could say about ‘The Nun II’ that I have not yet covered. Maybe that I find it a pity that it already grossed around 250 million Euros, and that films like this continue to make enough money to make a sizeable profit, thus continuing to justify their existence. But hey, I’m guilty of helping them as well by watching them, so I guess I don’t have that much right to complain.