The Conjuring Universe keeps expanding getting ever wider, flabbier, and more predictable with The Nun II: Demonic Boogaloo. Content to recycle old tricks, the setting changes and we see some new characters with our returning super nun Taissa Farmiga, but this latest entry is as true a sign from the divine as any that this franchise has run out of fresh ideas. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, The Nun II earns some redemption with a nice HDR10 transfer and Atmos audio, but bonus content should go to confession. For Fans Only
After Bryan’s Nun II Theatrical Review, I wasn’t at all surprised how it turned out. While I was entertained by Corin Hardy’s prequel/side feature, the film was already stretching the franchise thin. Then came three more films in the series before we got this prequel-sequel The Nun II Nun Harder from Michael Chaves (his third in the franchise). While not expecting much, my hope was that since the first film had a rather grim but welcome sense of humor, this film might lean into that and splatter more blood around. Alas, that’s not the case.
After doing battle with the diabolical Valak, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) is content living a quieter life in the service of our Lord and Savior while training up newcomer Sister Debra (Storm Reid). But then in a rural French community, the demon Valak has returned burning the local father alive in a diabolical show of power (and coincidentally the best scene of the film). Now Irene and Debra must prepare for battle to save a bunch of girls at a boarding school, but things become complicated when Irene’s old friend Maurice (Jonas Bloguet) reappears and may be connected to this dark evil.
Nine films in and The Conjuring Universe has dwindled down to recycling old tricks rather than trying anything new. Lacking that special James Wan horror touch, we simply see more shadowy figures, hear more spooky bumps, and when that doesn’t work, the visuals and volume crank to the max to try and shock us with sensory overload. This film lacks the humor of the first Nun while also missing any sense of urgency. The pitfall of these prequels is chronologically we know our titular demon shows up in The Conjuring II so we’re stuck with filler that doesn’t go anywhere or do anything. Once again Taissa Farmiga is excellent at holding her own against her older sister in the franchise, but she should be getting more and better for her time.
Considering the French location and the mid-1950s time period - this would have been the perfect time for the franchise to go full Gran Guignol splatter horror/comedy. There are some spooky pieces, Sister Irene looking at a magazine stand is a highlight moment, but there’s nothing genuinely scary. Even the usually effective jump scares fall flat because we’ve seen them telegraphed so many times already there’s nothing shocking. There’s some blood work here, but nothing shocking or exciting for a seasoned horror fan to hang their hat on.
As we’re set to get something of a franchise finale with the next Conjuring film, this last Nun was the perfect time to go full-nuts with it. Let's have some fountains of blood! Let's see some ghastly decapitations with a sense of humor about it all. Even a 50% version of Ken Russell’s The Devils would have been more exciting than unrelenting blandness. Maybe the upcoming The Conjuring: The Last Rights can deliver something scary, but after so many side films and prequels, we’re a far cry from where it all began.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Nun II Your Sister is a Nun comes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a single-disc 4K UHD + Digital release. Pressed on a BD-66 disc, the disc is housed in a standard black case with an identical slipcover. The disc loads to a standard main menu with basic navigation structure.
The Nun II Nun with a Vengeance arrives on 4K UHD with an overall pleasing 2160p HDR transfer. Most of the time the image is remarkably crisp and clean with lovely details and vibrant colors with deep creepy blacks and striking whites to match. The film was shot on location and the production values in that respect are fantastic. This looks like a big expensive film and the detailed photography really leans into these assets. The dodgy parts for me are for some of the darkest sequences. A number of scenes use minimal light to heighten the creepy vibes but because of that, it can get a might bit difficult to see what is happening or who is on screen. Thankfully those issues are relatively mild and not a major distraction. Most of the time the film looks great. I mentioned the scene of Irene looking at the magazines as the pages flip to reveal Valak in the review and that is a highlight scene here. Not the greatest 4K transfer ever, but still a good one.
In keeping with the franchise’s standards, The Nun II (can’t think of another pithy subtitle) offers a respectable Dolby Atmos experience. For my frights, I love a horror film that knows how to be quiet and use silence as an asset to build tension. While the jump scare gags may be overplayed for this series, the audio elements nonetheless are pitch-perfect. Dialog is clean and clear without issues. The soundscape is intricately designed to make sure those side, rear, and height channels see plenty of attention while also filling out the big open spaces or the tight confines of the abbey interiors. I think I would be more enamored with this mix if it was a little more interesting. Again like the fright tricks of past films, the sound design follows a lot of the same beats so even when it's using quiet to set up a scare, that impact deflates because we know it's coming. All the same, levels are spot on and there's a nice amount of immersive spacing and atmospheric effects to keep the channels working.
As for bonus features, the number and quality of the materials more or less live up to where the franchise is at now. What we have are two very brief featurettes barely totaling over twelve minutes that amount to little more than short talking head interludes. No real depth, no real examination of the production. Just disc filler really.
The Nun II is just a missed opportunity. After years of story bloat with expanding new side films and prequels, the franchise appears to be winding down and this latest delivers only more of the same. No real shocks. No real big scares. The film could have gone big and gotten creative and shaken up the mixture, but instead its content with coasting into the franchise’s final chapter. On 4K Ultra HD, the franchise has gotten into the habit of offering up a pretty solid 4K experience with HDR and Atmos audio. Certainly not demo material, but worth your attention if you’re a fan of the series. The real sin of this set I must confess is the lack of any meaningful extras. For Fans Only