An ineffectual sequel : The Tribune India

An ineffectual sequel

An ineffectual sequel

Director Michael Chaves depends on atmospherics to stress his point of view.

Film: The Nun 2

Director: Michael Chaves

Cast: Bonnie Aarons, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Storm Reid, Anna Popplewell, Bonnie Aarons, Katelyn Rose Downey

Johnson Thomas

The intentions are pretty much clear here. Director Michael Chaves and his team of writers have been tasked with bridging ‘The Nun’ with ‘The Conjuring’ series — so, for the fans, it’s a good thing. Their horror affliction expands to territories that lend credence to horrifying acts that only evil can procure. Of course, there’s nothing new or inventive here to scare the ‘bejesus’ out of the audience. It does seem as though even eking out something from any old scares is akin to conjuring something unique — at least as far as the fans are concerned.

We see the return of Sister Irene (Taisa Farmiga), tasked by the Pope himself, to help banish the evil that has been plaguing the Catholic Church of late. Priests have been bearing the brunt of this evil. Mutilated and immolated as they are by forces beyond imagination, the Church is obviously worried. In this sequel, Sister Irene has Sister Debra (Storm Reid) for company and they have the unpleasant task of exorcising the evil that has now possessed affable handyman Maurice (Jonas Bloquet), the very man who saved Sister Irene in the prequel. Valak aka the Nun (Bonnie Aarons) has currently set up shop in a boarding school that was once a monastery doubling up as a storage area for barrels full of wine. No prizes for guessing that the wine comes in handy for obliterating the evil that is plaguing the church.

Director Chaves is entirely dependent on atmospherics to belabor his point of view. The overuse of basic horror film tenets leads to confusion rather than lucidity. Dark corridors, murky moments, faintly lit cobbled pathways, children bearing witness to horrific acts, abandoned derelict churches and a score that blasts out its intentions loudly enough hold diminishing returns. The dark and dense cinematography looks good for a horror film but there’s no emotion to connect with here. The editing tries to complicate matters with a non-linear telling of three strands of the story. So, it becomes difficult for the average viewer to make sense of what is happening. Those who have seen ‘The Nun’ might be able to connect the dots but those who haven’t are more than likely to feel out of sorts. The lack of all-pervading tension and craftily fashioned horror moments is telling. There’s not much hype surrounding its scares. The religious lore also feels rather hokey.

Chaves’ imagery is compelling enough but his flair for scares and getting the audience involved in the story is questionable. The basic lore feels over-extended and the piecemeal backstory doesn’t hold much gumption either. There aren’t many moments where the narrative feels nuanced or generally unsettling.

The film may not be a disaster because its legend has survived a belated return and fans are more than eager to lap up even substandard stuff.