The Nun 2 review: Horror sequel falls into bad habits

The sequel arrives five years after the original movie spooked audiences around the world

Taissa Farmiga in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)
Taissa Farmiga in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)
  • 🎞️ When is The Nun 2 out: In cinemas from Friday, 8 September

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 2/5

  • 🎭 Who's in it? Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Storm Reid, Bonnie Aarons, Anna Popplewell, Suzanne Bertish

  • 👍 What we liked: Occasional moments of visual inspiration.

  • 👎 What we didn't: Goes through the motions with a plodding storyline, and squanders the talents of Storm Reid.

  • 📖 What's it about? 1956 – France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.

  • ⏱️ How long is it? 1 hour 50 minutes

While the title of The Nun 2 isn't exactly inspired, it tells fans of 2018's The Nun — and the wider The Conjuring horror universe — exactly what they need to know: Their favourite evil nun has her own sequel at last.

The original received a lukewarm critical reception, but attracted such an enthusiastic following that it became one of the most popular films in the franchise. And now the nun is back. What can we expect?

Read more: The Conjuring timeline explained

Put simply: more of the same. There’s been a few tweaks to the formula — the devil puts in a cameo appearance in the shape of a goat — but the idea and the plot are so desperately familiar that it’s hard to tell the two films part.

Storm Reid in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)
Storm Reid in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)

Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) returns — this time helped by rebellious postulant Debra (Storm Reid) — and her quest is much the same as before: put that scary nun back in her box.

Anybody who saw the original won’t be surprised that Maurice’s (Jonas Bloquet) involvement in events is different this time round but, essentially, the two movies are pretty much interchangeable.

Director Michael Chaves has form with the franchise, with two other titles – 2019's The Curse Of La Llorona (recently de-canonised) and 2021's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – under his belt.

Watch a trailer for The Nun 2

He knows his audience, and keeps the formula the same. The result goes through the motions, plodding through a routine narrative that frequently descends into cliché and only occasionally shows anything close to inspiration or imagination.

Read more: How The Nun's buried alive scene was done

One moment, with the wind blowing through magazine pages on a bookseller’s stand, is visually striking and comes with a pleasantly tingling expectation of the image to come. But you can count scenes like this on the fingers of one malevolent bony hand.

Taissa Farmiga in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)
Taissa Farmiga in The Nun 2. (Warner Bros.)

Worse still, Chaves does a key member of his cast a massive disservice. As a young, spirited would-be nun, Storm Reid is banging her head up against a brick wall.

Seemingly there to pick up Farmiga when she’s thrown across the room (which is often) she has little else to do, and the talent displayed in The Last Of Us and Euphoria is utterly squandered. We already know what to expect from Farmiga and Bloquet, so her presence raises expectations – and they’re soon dashed.

After the excitement that greeted the energy of Talk To Me just a few weeks ago, The Nun 2 brings us back to basics with a painful bump in the night.

Far from being something to look forward to, it’s more of a nun-entity.

The Nun 2 is in UK and Irish cinemas from 8 September.