The Nun II marks the ninth(?!) film in The Conjuring Universe and, quite honestly, it should be the last. What started as a horror franchise that took audiences around the world by storm is now offering up such dour cinematic experiences as this. There's always a chance horror can be bad but it should never be this boring.

In 1956 France, a priest is murdered, and it seems an evil is spreading. Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) once again comes face to face with a demonic force.
First things first, Valak isn't a good enough character to base a spin-off film around, let alone two! That puts The Nun II at a disadvantage straightaway because the source of the horror throughout the film isn't engaging enough. It makes for very dull viewing when all Valak does is appear behind the shoulder of those unlucky enough to be in her presence. Akela Cooper's story is uninspired and leaves the film without a captivating focal point. Cooper has writing credits on Malignant and M3GAN so to see her work on something so flat is disappointing.

The Nun II seems to fall into every trap possible to become a truly ineffective horror film, Michael Chavez happy to just use loud noises and cheap jump scares to try and scare the audience. The production design is one of the highlights of the film, and goes a long way in making the scariest moment of the film, that involves a magazine stand, rather effective compared to everything else in the film. It's a predictable moment but there's an eerie atmosphere here that's ultimately lacking elsewhere in the film.
Taissa Farmiga and Storm Reid play the nuns on the run to stop Valak in her tracks, as Sisters Irene and Debra respectively. Taissa shares The Conjuring Universe with her older sister, Vera, but she's a long way off in reaching that level of performance. As decent as she is here, the film lacks a powerful lead performance. Reid has impressed early on in her career but this feels like a minor misstep, not getting any chance to show the range we know she has.

The Nun II is yet more nunsense from that bitch Valak! I would say these films have run their course however, a mid-credits scene (ridiculous one at that!) proves they've got more in the pipeline. Horror franchises, more than others, rarely get better as they go on so this would be the perfect time to stop for me. Or give them one last chance and go out with a bang in the fourth Conjuring film.

Verdict: ★★


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