A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

A Quiet Place was both a great modern take on the alien invasion genre as well as an interesting variation on survival horror.  Alien creatures - animals, not intelligent beings - are brought to Earth on asteroid fragments and hunt by sound.  The few human survivors must live in absolute silence in order to survive.  One family does the dumbest thing they can think of: they have a baby, quite possibly one of the loudest and most uncontrollable things on the planet.  A lot of people questioned this part of the plot but I am quite aware that people are truly this stupid.

The difference between A Quiet Place and the movies that influenced it is that it stopped right at the point that ushers in the big finale.  Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) experiences pain in her cochlear implant whenever the creatures make sounds and figures out that running the signal from her transmission device through an amplifier stuns the creatures and causes them to scream, thus making them vulnerable long enough for to be killed.  Typically armored from head to toe, the sound causes the creatures to open up their heads - basically a giant, complex ear - making them vulnerable to almost any weapon.  With their father Lee (John Krasinski) having sacrificed himself for his family it is implied that Regan, with help from her mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) will get the secret to other survivors in order to defeat the aliens and restore civilization.

As far as Krasinski, who also directed the movie and cowrote it with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, that was it.  His cowriters, pretty much in agreement, left for other projects.  However, as usual, cash is king in Hollywood, and with the success of A Quiet Place Krasinski was asked to make a sequel.  At first he refused but, after some coercion, decided to make a go of it.

After a brief flashback to the time the creatures arrived the movie begins immediately where the first left off.  Evelyn, Marcus and Regan, along with their new baby brother in the soundproof box Evelyn designed in the first movie, set out from their ruined farm to find out what is out there.  Taking refuge in a steel factory they meet Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former friend of the family that at first is reluctant to help the Abbotts, but soon relents. 

Marcus, wounded from a run-in with a bear trap, is listening to white noise on the radio when "Beyond the Sea" suddenly comes on.  He tells Regan, who figures out that the signal is coming from a radio station on an island one to two days away.  Against her brother's wishes she sets out, knowing that the radio station is the best way for her to distribute her signal and stun as many of the creatures as possible.  Marcus tells his mother and Emmett goes out to retrieve Regan.  After saving her from one of the creatures he reluctantly joins her on her quest.  The station does in fact exist, however their arrival on the island, which has been sheltered due to the creatures' inability to swim, may also herald the arrival of an unwanted visitor. 

The story itself is slight, barely expanding upon the ending of the first movie.  The flashback scene is one of the highlights.  However, despite the lack of any big revelations, A Quiet Place Part II manages to maintain, and surpass, much of the tension of the first film.  Quite a bit of that is done by cutting back and forth between the situations that Regan and Emmett encounter and the efforts of Evelyn and Marcus to both survive as well as protect the baby.  Naturally, much of the latter is due to making Marcus dumber than he should be in order to attract the creature, but it's a means to a satisfying end. 

One thing I feared is that the necessity to expand the world this takes place in would start making it feel like an episode of The Walking Dead, with the typical twist that the humans are the real monsters and that civilization will always fall due to lack of cooperation.  While Emmett and Regan do run into some bad people it is, again, a means to an end for the main plot rather than having the group of thieves affect things in any major way.  When it comes to reaching some sort of civilization it is undone more by bad luck than anything else, and not truly destroyed, either.  

Krasinski appears in the flashback sequence, but Lee stays gone the rest of the movie without doing any ego-stroking additional flashbacks in order to insert his character.  Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds get to play the co-lead parts this time, and it seems like both are more fleshed out characters than previously.  There are still plenty of leaps of logic and a lot of suspension of disbelief to make the plot truly work but, like in the first film, Krasinski tries to do his best to make things consistent as possible, and it works.  The sound design, meant to amplify sounds that would otherwise be insignificant, is still well-done, and the creatures themselves still look good.  The budget was higher for this one but, like in the first, the effects budget concentrated on what it should instead of just trying to dazzle the audience. 

I keep going back and forth on which of the two movies were better, or if I like them about equal.  I would say at this point the latter is true, since they both have enough difference between them even if they are still telling the same story.  The first dwelt on just surviving, while this one focuses not just on surviving one more day, but rather on winning the fight all together.  Like the first the ending is satisfying, even if it again leaves off at a point where most older monster films would have continued in order to wrap things up.  

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)
Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, John Krasinski
Director: John Krasinski



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