Oh boy… it has been a while since I last stepped inside a cinema. My cautious wifey finally relented amidst the fluctuating but decreasing COVID-19 numbers and thank goodness A Quiet Place: Part II was still around and it’s the biggest-screen-you-can-find type of movie event. Nothing else cuts it.
With the newly acquired knowledge of the seemingly invulnerable creatures’ weakness, grief-stricken Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) finds herself on her own, with two young teens, a hearing impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah June). Together with a defenceless newborn son and with no place to hide, they summon up every last ounce of courage to leave their now-burned-to-the-ground farm and embark on a peril-laden quest to find civilisation. Determined to expand beyond the boundaries, the resilient survivors have no other choice but to venture into eerily quiet, uncharted hostile territory, hoping for a miracle. But, this time, the enemy is everywhere.
When news of a sequel to A Quiet Place (2018) dropped, my mind unspooled the most likely idea for the sequel: mass producing the weapon, bring the fight to them, annihilate the creatures and mankind lives another day. The blueprint will be to amplify the canvas by making it louder, doubled down on the creatures, more action scenes, more and more of everything that made the first one worked. If done well you can sometimes get Aliens (1986), but most of the time you will get crap like Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). A Quiet Place: Part II thankfully falls closer to Aliens with a well thought-out story that expands on the familial themes and it flows organically from the first part.
Seriously, these two movies have no reason being this good, but they are, nerve-wrackingly so. Plot-holes and illogical aspects abound at every turn, but writer-actor-director John Krasinski somehow manages to balance the human and monster elements perfectly and rewards the audiences with nerve-shredder set-pieces and poignant family dynamics. He does the job so well that you will willingly look past the faults.
Krasinski did himself no favours by writing himself out of the sequel because his character died in the first movie. Lee Abbot was the heart of the first movie, so his absence leaves a hole. Krasinski made a wise choice to make Regan the focus in Part II. The flow is organic – if Part I is about a father teaching his deaf daughter how to survive in a world crawling with monsters, then Part II is the daughter internalising her father’s lessons and soaring to a different level with them. The father’s legacy lives on in his daughter. In a sense, Part II becomes a coming-of-age drama, not just for Regan but for Marcus too. Watch for the scene where the mother looks on with pride as her son comes into his own.
The scope of the story is widened because with the patriarch Lee gone, the Abbots now have to leave their hideout and venture out into the unknown, a world decimated by the creatures which still lurked unseen. The world is expanded with new characters and new worlds. Cillian Murphy is well-cast as Emmett, the Abbots’ friend. His weather-beaten face spelled a man with nothing to live for except to live as long as possible. Elsewhere, Djimon Hounsou feels more like a cameo, a character who seems interesting at first but goes ahead and does something stupid. In short, he is a plot-mover.
Krasinski is not only adept at the dramatic moments, he is equally an old hand with the action set-pieces. The opening scene featuring a trapped-in-a-car point-of-view speed-reversing from a careening bus is particularly effective. Other visual touches like putting us in Regan’s soundless point-of-view is an adrenaline rush. Deftly cross-cutting between three storylines in the last act is also a marvel.
Where he is least successful is with a couple of illogical aspects that I shan’t mention. Who knows, it might not bother you as much as it did for me. My main gripe is that the creatures continue to be just that, creatures. We now know other than their weakness, they come from space, but other than that they exist merely to wipe out human beings. Two movies in, there is still no background about them and it’s something that needs to be addressed soon. That said, the moment the movie ended, I wanted Part III to start immediately.
Here’s hoping the third part doesn’t succumb to the usual terror-from-space tripe and goes back to why the first movie became such a next-day-at-the-water-cooler movie experience.
3.5 / 5