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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

“The Nun II” advances horror production and delivers a climactic sendoff to the past

The long-awaited Nun sequel finally came to theaters on Sept. 8, 2023, bringing a higher-quality product with a lackluster finish.
Warner Bros
The long-awaited Nun sequel finally came to theaters on Sept. 8, 2023, bringing a higher-quality product with a lackluster finish.

Warning: Spoilers

Released on Sept. 8, 2023, “The Nun II” has been a highly-anticipated sequel of the 2018 film “The Nun.” As the highest grossing film in the Conjuring Universe, the success of “The Nun” created high standards for its sequel. Fans have speculated about the direction that writers Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing would take with the project. However, it’s clear that the quality of “The Nun II” has not been diluted. Although the writing did contain some hiccups, the movie still provided a satisfying conclusion to the story that the original started.

“The Nun” was the first part for the prequels released for the “Conjuring” franchise. It followed the story of a priest, Father Burke (Demián Bichir), and a novitiate, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), as they investigate the supposed suicide of a nun. They eventually confronted a demon, Valak (Bonnie Aarons), who had been trapped and was trying to find a host to escape to the outside world. At the end, it was revealed that Valak had secretly taken host in a man, Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), during the exorcism that was supposed to kill it, leading up to the plot of the latest movie.

“The Nun II” gives much needed context on what has happened to the main cast after a four year timeskip. Father Burke died off-screen from cholera. Maurice has been traveling like normal, but unknown to anyone, the previous movie’s main villain, the demon Valak, has been possessing him for years. She influences his travels to try to find the “Eyes of Saint Lucy,” a relic that will help her reclaim the holy powers she had been stripped of. Finally, Sister Irene, traumatized from the events of the last movie, has fled into hiding, working in a countryside convent attempting to leave her past behind. However, when she is notified of a series of religion-based murders happening in a pattern across Europe that is eerily similar to the case of Valak that had happened years ago, she’s once again called to action in hopes of finishing the job she started.

What really sells this movie is the improvement of the visuals and soundtrack this time around. It’s clear that the producers have had both an experience and budget upgrade: Valak looks more sinister than ever before, and the additional CGI compared to the first film really add a sense of realism to the horror of their presence. The suspense of the jumpscare scenes were visually smoother because of both the lighting and the movement, and this was topped off with Marco Beltrami’s incredible scores that made every lead-up to deaths and attacks feel all the more frightening. Finally, every key character’s actor truly leveled up their portrayals to make this sequel a worthy successor: Farmiga’s adaptation of Irene’s trauma, through added tension to both her tense facial expression as well as her wavering voice whenever any correlation to the past was made, truly showcased her panic whenever she relived any moment of the trauma she had accumulated during the first film. Along with Farmiga, Bloquet’s portrayal of Maurice’s split allegiances due to being possessed really sells the weight of any scene that features him, his helplessness truly haunting both the characters his possession affects as well as the viewers who grew attached to his witty charm from the previous movie.

The movie presented a familiar, visually-stunning final act that raised the bar for all future horror films.

However, while the character performances and visual effects were truly kicked into higher gear, bits and pieces of the plot left much to be desired. The movie mostly held together due to the general ambiguity of Valak’s powers, but some particular scenes left many questions unanswered. The movie introduced a shape-shifting goat devil during the final fight scene, but there was no explanation as to why it came to life from its painting form, which added confusion to the already complex climax of the film. The movie also connected many factors together during the final fight, with a multitude of religious allegories and plot points converging into a climactic ending with Valak’s final exorcism. However, while it ended up looking visually stunning and was certainly more dramatic than every other “Conjuring” movie ending, the scene was difficult for viewers to follow due to both the suddenness of some of the realizations during the scene as well as just the sheer number of abilities miraculously conjured up in such a brief time period,  illustrating a break in the standard pacing of the movie and leaving a bittersweet final note for the “Conjuring Universe” prequel.

Overall, this movie provided much needed closure to the journey started during the first part. Every character’s story was wrapped up, and while the plot partially strayed from its roots during the final act, it still presented a familiar, visually-stunning final act that raised the bar for all future horror films. What the plot may have lacked was very easily outweighed by the incredible sound design as well as improved visual movement and quality, granting viewers a solid sequel to “The Nun” as well as a satisfactory continuation to the decade-long “Conjuring” franchise. The live shock and fright is what makes horror movies legendary, and “The Nun II” gives us one of the best recent additions to their legacy.

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About the Contributor
Leo Xiao, Staff Writer
Leo joined the Tribune because he likes the people there and covering stories is pretty fun for him. He took J1 last year, and his goal for this year is to try covering clubs in mini-sections of the newspaper, as he finds it cool to promote more aspects of Dougherty Valley. In his free time, Leo enjoys playing violin, Smash Bros Ultimate and League of Legends. If he could be anyone else on the tribune, he'd be Ella for no particular reason.

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