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‘The Nun II’: Not Perfect, but Better Than the First One

This sequel delivers a better scare factor, better writing and a more interesting plot.
Taissa Farmiga in “The Nun II” (Courtesy of IMDb)


With October approaching, ‘tis the season for horror to take over streaming platforms and movie theaters alike. Nowadays, that tends to mean one of two things: cheesy slashers, or sequels to moderately successful films.

On Sept. 8, “The Nun II” was released to theaters across the country. The film is a sequel to “The Nun,” which came out almost exactly five years ago. The sequel is far more well-received and delivers a better scare factor, better writing and a more interesting plot.

A quick note, this article will be looking at “The Nun” and “The Nun II” as separate films from the “Conjuring” universe.

Bigger, Better and Scarier

It has sadly become commonplace for Hollywood to make a mediocre movie with a few names and actors that audiences will recognize, slap a number “2” on it and hope it does as well as the first one did.

However, with “The Nun II,” it feels as if the writers really did try to make a better and scarier experience. Most of the jump scares in “The Nun” were laughable and predictable. In “The Nun II” however, there are one or two that really make you jump. The use of CGI isn’t too overt. Even when it is, it’s hard to care because the visuals are so beautiful.

At one point, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) stares at a lone magazine stand in the streets of Paris. The pages begin to turn on their own, creating demonic faces that flash in and out of view. In the moment it’s hard to care how it’s happening.  You’re simply too scared of what’s coming next.

How Does it Differ?

Similarly to most horror movie franchises, “The Nun II” revisits many of the main characters from the first movie. The characters come to realize that the evil they faced before was never truly defeated. Luckily, there is logic and even foreshadowing behind the return of the demon. So, the sequel doesn’t feel like a sad attempt at a cash grab. It actually appears to have been planned out from the beginning.

Another unusual success of “The Nun II” is the acting. This is something that horror movies have a mostly negative reputation for. Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet (Maurice) have great chemistry. They are clearly as committed to their roles as they were in the first installment.

It is sad to not have Demián Bichir return as Father Burke. It would have been exciting to see how he performed with a good script backing him up. However, plot-wise it makes sense for him to not be present.

The Future of Horror Sequels

When “The Nun” was first released in 2018, it received a whopping 5.3/10 on IMDB. “The Nun II,” however, raised that IMDB score to a 5.9/10. This contrasts most horror movie franchises’ downhill trends of both critic and audience rankings as they go on. Some of the best examples of this phenomenon are the Exorcist, Saw, Insidious and Chucky franchises.

Most of these series have a steady decline in ratings until they reach the later 2010s and the 2020s. Here we see a slight uptick in quality. Hopefully, other horror writers and directors will learn something from “The Nun II.” Even when they do decide to make a sequel instead of the original plotlines, they’ll at least try to make it better than the first ones.


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About the Contributor
Audrey Hall, Arts Writer
(she/they) Audrey Hall is a second-year student majoring in English and French. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City and has been a Utes fan since day one! In high school she developed a passion for both creative writing and news writing, which led her to write for the Skyline Horizon and eventually the Chronicle. In her free time, she plays water polo for the University's club team and plays a lot of video games.

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