Putting The Nun II in IMAX is like serving human excrement on a gold-plated platter. “What if this sucked bigger?” is a bold theatrical gambit and a frequently used political strategy these days. Anyway, my very first review as an independent film critic will always be The Nun II, and I have to learn to live with that.

I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the first Nun. I mean the movie, and not Saint Scholastica, who apparently started the Benedictine nuns around the year 500. That trivia tidbit will enrich your lives more than anything that will happen to you while watching The Nun II, which they didn’t even give a fun subtitle. So I will!

The Nun II: Gimme Back My Eyeballs is the origin story of why the painting in the Conjuring movies has glowing yellow eyes. That is not a joke or an exaggeration: This is a prequel about creepy peepers. Set in the 1950s after the completely forgotten events of the first film, which I swear I watched, a demon is riding around inside a handyman nicknamed Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet). Somehow he hasn’t put together that bad, awful things happen at whatever church, monastery, or boarding school he works at.

The Nun II: Don’t Start Nun, Won’t Be Nun primarily focuses on the survivor of the first film, Irene (Taissa Farmiga). Her sister act is “Investigating demonic happenings.” Just like Lorraine in The Conjuring, Irene gets weird, only-somewhat-helpful visions of things. These help her to know things like “Something bad is happening” and “I think the demon who looks like a nun wants a set of eyeballs plucked from a saint.” Irene has a new buddy, Debra (Storm Reid), whose character arc goes from “religion seems made up” to “now that I’ve seen the literal devil, I’m a believer.” Which, you know, fair…

The Nun II: My Anaconda Don’t Want Nuns has no story. None. The demon shows up to get a relic that doesn’t really matter, and everyone has to stop her from using nebulous powers to do confusing, stupid stuff. There are like 15 usable minutes. One sequence with magazines flipping through faces on a newsstand is a super fun effect. Neat! There’s a goat-man who may be Satan that tortures bratty schoolchildren. Fun! But most of it is just sitting around waiting for jump scares and ratchet up tension that is never paid off. Lame!

The Nun II: Nun Shall Pass didn’t need to be genre-redefining to work. Goofy, spooky scares would have been enough. Instead, this is a lumbering, slow-motion monstrosity somehow possessed of a self-seriousness and confidence that it absolutely does not deserve to have. Unoriginal and dull, the film dares to ask the question “Can we be done with The Conjuring Universe soon?” But it dares to ask it in IMAX. I do have to laugh at Christopher Nolan watching Oppenheimer lose IMAX screens to this. Yeah, buddy! This is your cinematic peer. Actually, and this is real, I liked The Nun II: Nun Pizza, Left Beef more than what it’s replacing.

Who’s the demon now?!

Grade = D

Other Critical Voices to Consider

Mini Anthikad Chhibber at The Hindu says “The soundscape is loud and intrusive. Though it tries to bludgeon us into overlooking the cavernous plot holes, it fails spectacularly.”

Carla Hay at Culture Mix says “It’s one of those boring horror movies with characters and scenarios that are so poorly written and unremarkable, a viewer’s mind could easily start to wander while watching this underwhelming slog that is just a series of many scenes that have been done in one way or another (and much better) in several other horror films.”

Murjani Rawls at DraftKings Nation says “There’s a sense of tension when it’s apparent that nobody is spared from her wrath – which quickly dissipates when it elects to fall into old story habits.”

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