10 years on, 'The Conjuring' has left more than just a mark on the horror genre. As we get further away from that original film and more and more spinoffs, the spark that set off a new horror phase has begun to diminish. You then had the fall of the supernatural horror genre and the rise of slasher flicks - and these films just don't stand out as much in the modern climate. Supernatural and slasher always go back and forth, but right now, thanks to the return of the 'Halloween' and 'Scream' franchises they are back in the limelight - so can 'The Nun II' return the reigns to supernatural horror?
Four years after Sister Irene (Tessa Farmiga, 'The Mule', 'Justice League Dark: Apokolips War') first encountered the demon Valak (Bonnie Aarons, 'The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement', 'Silver Linings Playbook') and banished her, The Nun has somehow returned and started haunting churches across Europe. This leads her to a boarding school in France where Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet, 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets', 'Elle'), who helped Irene with Valak's first hauntings, the two have to team up again to try and condemn "the marquis of snakes" back to hell. They are joined by Sister Debra (Storm Reid, 'Missing', 'The Invisible Man'), Kate (Anna Popplewell, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' franchise, 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'), a teacher at the school, and her daughter, Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey, 'The Princess'), to try put this demon to rest.
I can sit here and say this is an upgrade from 'The Nun', but it's so minimal that this entry's existence isn't even worth it. While there are some more creative moments with the scares, The Nun herself is still lacking from huge chunks of the film, especially the finale. In 'The Conjuring 2', she was just a haunting presence and here, yet again, she just kind of screams at the camera. It's always a quiet moment, something spooky flies by a character, Valak's hand peaks out from behind a door, and then she appears - end scene. She just does so little; she is meant to be this horror icon, but in both of her solo ventures, there is nothing to make her worthy of this title.
Something all the spinoff films struggle with is the lack of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their chemistry is so captivating that you are hooked on the characters before the horror even starts. None of 'The Conjuring' spinoff films have succeeded at introducing interesting characters. 'The Nun II' attempts to add a lot of screen time to the characters' backstories, but these end up being incredibly boring. This film is an additional 20 minutes compared to the first 'Nun', and you feel every boring minute.
Something spooky flies by a character, Valak's hand peaks out from behind a door, and then she appears - end scene. She just does so little; she is meant to be this horror icon, but in both of her solo ventures, there is nothing to make her worthy of this title.
Quick positives - the magazine sequence. While it ends with a cheap jump scare, the build-up of all the magazines turning and building to the image of Valak is truly a great horror moment. It's a shame the film never did anything on this level again.
The film also has weird callbacks, or I guess in this case call-forwards, to Valak's moments in 'The Conjuring 2', by simply just splicing scenes from that film in. I think I get what they were trying to hint at: trying to form a link been Sister Irene and Lorraine Warren, but it never fully comes together and is just a cheap reference.
There is no reason that now two films about Valak are so bland and simply not scary. 'The Conjuring 2' was the horror movie that got me into horror - I can still remember being in the cinema and being filled with fear and panic, looking away to the exit light under the screen whenever the film got too haunting. That a character with that presence should be reduced to such a bland, empty, film twice! There is currently only one more 'Conjuring' entry planned, 'The Last Rite' - hopefully that will be the final séance, because it's truly time to put the nail in the coffin and stop beating these demons.