A Quiet Place (2018) was my favorite film that year. I remember watching it in theaters with my friends. Most of the theater stayed as quiet as the Abbott family. No one unwrap their overpriced, cellophane wrapped theater sized box of Buncha Crunch nor did anyone munch on their popcorn excessively loud. The entire theater watched with bated breath as the Abbotts fought for their lives against aliens that hunt by sight and were harder to kill than a 2020 voting conspiracy theory.
When we left the theater, we all raved about it. We were excited by the fact that it was meant to be a one-off movie and not some cog in a cinematic franchise charnel house.
Of course, with everything else in Hollywood, if it makes money then there will be a sequel.
And here we are, three years later, with A Quiet Place Part II. Written, directed, and starred by John Krasinski, audiences are shown exactly how those monster aliens arrive on the planet.
Fast forward to a few moments after the first movie ends. The Abbott family, except for the father (played by Krasinski) decide to leave their home. Their destination is another friendly settlement up the mountain.
It’s not long before they wind up in trouble when the son, played by Noah Jupe, gets injured and the family rely on a familiar friend to save them. This is where the characters split up and go on their own adventures.
The acting is still exceptional. In the first film, the narrative was focused more on the adults of the film and while the two main adult actors, Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy (who plays Emmett), are prevalent in the film, it’s the two child actors, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, that are focused on.
Krasinski serves as an excellent director once again. His artistic vision for the film once again shows a world that’s been ravaged by killer alien monsters but at the same time is creepily beautiful. Without humanity as the rulers of the world, nature has taken over the landscape. The second film explores the outside world more as the family escape the wreckage of their home. You get to see trains that are full of skeletons, abandoned docks, and a factory that has been taken over by the forest around it.
Millicent Simmonds plays Regan Abbott, the oldest of the Abbott siblings. Being deaf in a world where you need to know how much noise you’re making presents unique challenges. In order to get audiences to identify with the character, there will be times when absolutely no sound can be heard. This tactic is effectively eerie.
That’s not to say that everything was great. For instance, Murphy plays a new character who is introduced during the beginning of the film. He’s briefly shown interacting with Lee and Regan Abbott during a baseball game. Lee and Emmett are friends and have sons on the same team. The audience lose track of Emmett during the chaos that shortly follows, but we meet back up with him later on in the film. It’s quickly made known to the audience that Emmett is meant to fill the hole left by Lee’s death in the first film. Conveniently, Emmett is all alone when the family crosses paths with him. I would’ve liked to see him given a bit more of a backstory in the beginning of the film.
Typically in a sequel starring monsters, we get to see bigger and deadlier monsters. And the film tried to do that, but not in the sense you’d think. Instead of seeing a different breed of aliens, the movie tries to have humans serve that role. While it’s interesting, it’s also pretty bland and kind of boring.
If you’ve seen the first film then you know that Regan’s earpiece is the one weakness that the aliens have. So whenever the characters get confronted by a single alien, it’s really not much of a contest anymore. It would’ve been cool to see more than one monster in the same scene. If they can’t see each other, then how do they tell each other apart? Do they end up attacking each other when one makes a sound? How do they discern which sound is caused by them and which is caused by an animal/human? None of those questions are brought up which is a bit sad in my opinion.
The other weird thing that I wish the film explored is whether or not the aliens eat the prey they brutally slaughter. The film is Rated PG-13 so you never see people’s heads being bitten off or people being disemboweled. When people do die, the shot cuts away. That, or you see people being thrown off camera. Most of the bodies you see in the film are intact. The camera zooms in on the alien’s face and we see all those rows of razor sharp teeth, but we never see them eat anything. From the wildlife free setting, we know that the aliens kill just about everything they hear. If that’s the case, do they need nourishment to survive? Can they starve? Maybe I’m the only one that overthinks films, but those are the questions running through my head while I watch these movies.
My main annoyance with the film is the idiotic choices that characters constantly make. From the start of the film to the end credit roll, Every character makes some kind of idiotic choice that a sane individual would never make. Sure, it’s a horror/monster film where people always run up the stairs instead of out the front door, but it bothers me so much. It got to the point where I literally threw my hands up in frustration and laughed when the characters made such a decision. Sure, the monster followed you to a building. Do you a) walk out the way you came or b) stay inside and complete the mission?
With all that being said, I did enjoy A Quiet Place II. It was great to be back in the theaters eating buttery popcorn and drinking caffeinated soda. The sequel definitely lives up to the original, but it adds very little, overall, to the franchise. I wish they’d have elaborated and given the outside world more than what was presented. If you enjoyed A Quiet Place, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sequel.