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The Nun II Review

The+Nun+II+aired+Sept.+8%2C+2023+and+grossed+%24231+million+in+the+first+month+in+theaters.+Photo+by+New+Line+Cinema
The Nun II aired Sept. 8, 2023 and grossed $231 million in the first month in theaters. Photo by New Line Cinema

“1956 – France. A priest is murdered,” the synopsis for the film reads. “An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.”

The Nun II is an American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves with the screenplay written by Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing and Akela Cooper. It was released to theaters on Sept. 8, 2023, and grossed $32.6 million on its opening weekend. The film was widely anticipated as the sequel to “The Nun” was released five years earlier and grossed over $330 million worldwide. “The Nun II” is the ninth film in the conjuring universe created by James Wan which has cultivated horror fanatics of the world and has since earned its place next to horror cult classics like “Saw” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

The film stars Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, Jonas Bloquet as Maurice (Frenchie), and Storm Reid as a fellow nun, Debra as they try to stop the demonic force, Valak, from obtaining a holy relic buried in a boarding school in France. Sister Irene (Farmiga) and Maurice (Bloquet) were both introduced during the first film, however, Reid is a new addition in The Nun II. The film presents her early on and partially focuses on her internal struggle with faith and being a nun, which I found interesting as it became integral to the development of the plot. Sister Irene is the lead protagonist, and the movie could be put into the growingly popular category of “Strong Female Lead,” as she is cast as a fearless, determined and devout nun. The sequel reminisces of its predecessor, The Nun, and frequently refers back to the events between Irene and Maurice. The relationship between these two as well as fellow nun, Debra and school teacher, Kate (Anna Popplewell) is written brilliantly and makes their fear genuinely believable. 

The setting is an important aspect of the gothic-style and horror element the film produces. Director Michael Chaves wanted the film to be set and filmed in Aix-en-Provence, France at the Couvent des Prêcheurs (Convent of Preachers), a once beautiful church in the south of France. In 1836, the church converted into a school, which mirrors the film, as the majority of the scenes take place in the courtyard and hallways of the school. The film also features locations in Tarascon, France, with scenes highlighting the towering cathedrals and ghostly cobblestone streets of 1950s France. Historical accuracy in the film and attention to detail give the audience of The Nun II something to immerse themselves in. With the film set in the 1950s, everything from the architecture to the technology presented in the movie makes it feel true to the time period. The filming location being identical to the setting in the movie also builds authenticity and for me adds to the eerie ambiance the film characterizes.

“I think that being able to film in real tangible locations, there’s an energy that sometimes is hard to recreate on stage,” Taissa Farmiga (Sister Irene) said in an interview with Bollywood Hungama. “We were able to find, even in beautiful Southern France, locations that give us that grit and that eerie feel.”

The horror element of the film surprised me more than anything. Generally, I do not get scared by horror and thriller genre movies, but the demon nun Valak (Bonnie Aarons) genuinely made me feel frightened. The film does an excellent job of balancing jump-scares with authentic horror, intertwining the two at times and bringing the “scare factor” to the audience. The film’s soundtrack, written by Academy-Award-nominated composer Marco Beltrami, integrates perfectly into the movie’s atmosphere and completes the eerie nature of the setting. As someone who plays an orchestral instrument, I enjoyed hearing the musical contrast of different scenes and what suspense they added to the movie’s personality. 

Primarily, the film is a horror flick. A very dark, twisted and freaky horror movie to be honest. It interweaves romance and adventure into the plot but overall it presents as a thrillingly graphic scary movie and that is evident from start to finish. I would highly recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys thrillers, horror or a rush of adrenaline. However, this movie is not for anyone who cannot handle blood, gore and death. If you want to be shaken out of your seat and possibly pee a little, go watch The Nun II. 

About the Contributor
Jackson Gourley
Jackson Gourley, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Jackson. I’m a senior but this is my first year in journalism and I love to travel and discover new music.
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