The Nun 2 review: "Best stop now before it becomes a habit"

The Nun 2
(Image: © Warner Bros.)

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After The Conjuring spin-off The Nun spooked up a franchise-best $366m in 2018, there was little doubt the sinister Valak would wriggle out of the grave she was buried in at the end of Corin Hardy’s original. 

Yet even with series stalwart Michael Chaves inheriting the directorial reins, M3GAN’s Akela Cooper contributing to the script, and a shift of location from Romania to France, The Nun 2 still ends up being no better than its predecessor and, in some departments, more than a little worse.

It’s definitely wanting on the scares front. The ghoulish trifecta of Bonnie Aarons’ white-faced wimple-wearer, a ghostly altar boy and a demonic goat add up to nary a shudder.

And while the returning Taissa Farmiga does everything that can be expected of her as saintly Sister Irene, reluctantly pressed back into service when a string of suicides and immolations point to an evil reawakened, you can’t help sensing both she and Jonas Bloquet (also back as hunky handyman Maurice), are going through contractually obligated motions.

One factor that introduces a soupçon of freshness is the boarding school setting, a fiefdom for mean girls and ’50s-era Heathers who take malicious glee in tormenting put-upon waif Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey). Gore-hounds, meanwhile, may derive some pleasure from the way a pair of gouged-out eyes become central to the narrative. 

Overall, though, The Nun 2 feels like an unnecessary sequel to a hoary offshoot that was hardly essential in the first place. Best stop now before it becomes a habit…

The Nun 2 is in US and UK cinemas on September 8. There's also plenty more upcoming horror movies on the way in 2023 and beyond too.

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.