The Conjuring franchise isn't my favorite, but Valak is a villain that always gets under my skin (sorry, Bonnie Aarons). I can't entirely explain it, but something about her just scares the hell out of me, so I was definitely planning to see The Nun II. All of that being said, none of the movies themselves have ever made much of a lasting impression.
Some aspects of the movie left me feeling a bit let down. The plot had some rather unsatisfying gaps and unanswered questions that were frustrating. Clichés were abundant in the final scenes, and predictability can be difficult for me to overlook sometimes. It felt like some obvious pieces of the story were spoon-fed to the audience, while other portions that could have used some clarification, were left undeveloped. They dove into some interesting lore, but unfortunately, that was the portion of the story that felt most lacking when things were all said and done.
Some aspects of this film were executed wonderfully though, like the casting and acting, atmosphere building, and jump scares. Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, and Storm Reid as Debra, are a very endearing duo. (If you haven't seen Storm Reid in the film Missing, I absolutely recommend you check that thriller out). The younger actors, especially Katelyn Rose Downey (Sophie), put on great performances! I felt like she did a fantastic job of showing the variety of emotion required of her character, and it felt very natural.
There was nothing about the old monastery-turned-boarding-school that wasn't eerie. Little details like peeling wallpaper, abandoned/unused spaces to be explored, and excellent use of lighting all contribute to the environment. Those all also pitch in when it comes to the jump scares. Even when I know they're coming, they still get me, and there was no shortage of them here!
Overall, The Nun II was a fun watch, but I recommend going in with no or little expectations to get the most of it. Some of the best shots from the movie were present in the trailer (I know we all hate when they do that), but there's no denying they were quite creative with some of them.
I'm putting it at 6 out of 10 ☠️