Ever since Taissa Farmiga was cast in Box Office The Nun, there’s been a running fan theory among The Conjuring fans that it’ll eventually be revealed that Sister Irene and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are connected in some way.
It’s based purely on the fact that the two actors are sisters in real life and, as a result, look similar. It was a similarity that almost made The Nun director Corin Hardy not cast Taissa as he knew people would note the similarity.
Given that The Nun takes place in 1952, almost 20 years before The Conjuring, the main fan theory was that Irene and Lorraine are the same person. It’s a theory that’s always had some holes, but we had nothing to confirm either way.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in The Nun II though, there’s confirmation that while they might not be the same person, the fan theory hasn’t been too far off the mark.
The latter half of The Nun II introduces a new relic to the Conjuringverse: the Eyes of Saint Lucy. Throughout The Nun II, Sister Irene receives visions of the marytrying of Saint Lucy, the patron saint of the blind, and of Valak’s influence on those events as the fallen angel attempted to return to full power.
She learns that Saint Lucy’s eyes, imbued with divine power, were removed upon her death and hidden within the French boarding school (formerly a monastery), where the majority of The Nun II’s action takes place, and that by acquiring the Eyes, Valak would become unstoppable. Irene’s visions reveal the Eyes of St. Lucy and she recovers them, but during the final confrontation between Irene and Valak, the demon nun steals them for itself and goes Super SaiNun, nearly martyring Irene herself by setting her ablaze in the process.
Prior to this point, flashbacks to Irene’s childhood had been detailing a foundational moment in her life: Her father had her mother institutionalized after she claimed (truthfully) that she had been having supernatural visions. As she’s being burned, Irene realizes her abilities and her visions of the past mean that she’s a direct descendant of Saint Lucy, and her understanding of that is one of the things that gives Irene the strength to overcome the demon nun in their final confrontation. At the moment of Irene’s realization, images flash before her eyes of her mother, Saint Lucy herself, and another woman implied to be a descendant of Saint Lucy, one who we already know full-well has medium abilities: Lorraine Warren.
As the series’ titular nun, Valak is the core of the film’s horrific efforts. And yet “The Nun II” performs accidental exposure therapy, showing their monster at absolutely every turn, almost immediately desensitizing us to her presence. There’s a reason bogeymen and ghosts are feared in the shadows; their mystery breeds fear. Valak (played again by Bonnie Aarons) is spotlighted at every turn, from traditional hero shots to terrible CGI renditions that occur with fatiguing frequency. She becomes an expected visitation rather than an intentional thrill, and what is meant to startle only provokes a sigh.
There’s an overall lack of thoughtfulness in “The Nun II” regarding scares, and Chaves is vehemently loyal to oversaturated tropes. The movie starkly neglects creativity and, in turn, lacks effective fear. With constant slow pans and loud bangs, Chaves’ film signals its viewers at every turn, telling us to be scared rather than inspiring it organically. It reads more as a series of vignettes following a strict quota on scares, with narrative dexterity low on the priority list.
The Nun II, in theaters Sept. 8, jumps ahead four years to 1956, after Father Burke (Demián Bichir) has died of cholera, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) has slipped into anonymity at a convent in Italy, and Maurice (Jonas Bloquet) has made his way to France and is working as a handyman at a boarding school. Unfortunately, it soon comes to light that, after possessing him in the first movie, Valak has been using Maurice as a vessel to commit a series of horrific murders across Europe. And thus, Sister Irene is once again called on by the Vatican to remedy the situation.
“We know from the first film that there’s something terrible inside of [Maurice],” director Michael Chaves told MovieWeb. “That Valak escaped within him, and events pull Irene back on this collision course with her old friend.”
The countdown to Halloween has officially begun, with “The Nun II,” the ninth and latest chapter in Warner Bros.’ “The Conjuring” universe hitting theaters this weekend. The horror movie scared up $3.1 million in previews at the box office.
The movie is expected to open to around $30 million to $33 million this weekend, a drop from the record-setting original movie but enough to scare away Denzel Washington and Sony’s “The Equalizer 3.” The first “Nun” movie, released in 2018, scored the highest opening of a movie in the “Conjuring” universe with $53.8 million, and it’s the series’ highest-grossing worldwide with $365.5 million at the box office.
“The Nun II” marks the first “Conjuring” movie released after the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous entry, 2021’s “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” simultaneously launched on HBO Max and in theaters.