The Nun II takes another horrifying dip into the paranormal for the second rendition of The Nun franchise. Directed by Micheal Chaves, who also directed The Conjuring: Devil Made Me Do It (2021) and The Curse of La Llorona (2019). The Nun II fits into the possession genre, where a female protagonist, Sister Irene, leads the charge to find out what happened to a missing priest. She ultimately discovers the truth of why the demon is haunting the living.
The films box office performance is doing well, as the Nun II has risen to the first spot in the global box office. Unfortunately, domestically the film has opened with one of the lowest grossing opening weekends in 2023. I think that not only is this a symptom of a post summer theatrical run, but also indicative of the decreased demand domestically for some of these lower budget horror films. While the top regions outside of the US are Mexico ($9.3M), Italy ($3.2M), and Indonesia ($4.4M). The international box office has surpassed the domestic ($50mm) with the total revenue to date at $102.3M in box office sales as of Sept. 17th.
Interestingly enough, these countries have a high appetite for horror, along with a high representation of catholic practicing citizens. Many of them showing up for the film even more than the domestic box office. While this isn’t the first time a movie has done better overseas than it does domestically, there is a place to think about whether the international market has MORE value, depending on the genre, than in the United States.
The plot of the movie picks up after a French Priest is brutally murdered. Sister Irene, played by Tassia Farmiga, launches an investigation into what really happened to the priest and other priests across France. They were all being haunted by a demonic force. Sister Debra, the main character’s best friend, played by Stormi Reed, really shows up as a strong focal character in this film, and really helps to lead the storyline in the right direction. However, without her I don’t know how long I would be watching this movie. After a huge demonic showdown, Sister Irene successfully defeats the “Demon Nun,” played by Bonnie Aarons, and learns her own tragic family lineage.
Overall, I really did enjoy Nun II! It was dark and tense throughout the entire film and really took me back to the old school beat of a good demon possession, horror film. Action sequences and CGI kept me emerged in the film. While at the same time, the soundtrack and scoring felt natural and communicated the angst and darkness of a catholic church’s, horror film score.
While this trope was pretty traditional and follows many other horror film tropes, I still found myself leaning into the story line. Overall, the film leans pretty heavily on jump scares. At times, I felt they weren’t always built up. At some point in Act III, I did find that it became a scream fest as the demonic forces came together for the final showdown. The action in Act III is certainly beautiful, however I did not like the multiple shots that were pulled directly from Stanley Kubriks the Shining (1980). While I understand the desire to pay homage, at this point in cinema history, we should be able to create more dynamic and original camera angles and movement. With almost a $40 million production budget, I do expect a bigger cinematic spectacle within the camera angle choices as well.
All in all, I would really enjoy watching this movie on streaming when it comes out on MAX in a few weeks.
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