Following the events of the first film, the Abbott family must travel to pastures new while facing down familiar threats.
A Quiet Place Part II, the sequel to the phenomenally successful horror film from 2017, has hit newly re-opened cinemas—and what an experience it delivers.
In the first film, the close-knit Abbott family must try to live in a world where alien creatures hunt by the use of sound. A Quiet Place Part II picks up from the end of A Quiet Place, comprising of family members Evelyn (Emily Blunt), her deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). For reasons obvious to those who have seen the first film, Lee (John Krasinki) only appears in flashback form here. A new member in tow includes a grizzled-looking Cillian Murphy as Emmett.
Without giving away too many plot points, the film opens with a flashback to the beginning of the alien invasion. It’s very impressive that, with a flashback involving characters that we know escape unscathed, sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn still manage to inject nerve-shredding tension into the scene: an ingenious use of sound involving shifting hearing perspectives via the Deaf character of Regan and Krasinki. In A Quiet Place Part II the scope of the film is heavily expanded, with characters travelling to different locations and meeting different communities. The presumable boost in the budget has given the film a grander feel than the first without sacrificing the tense and claustrophobic moments.
The film’s plot hinges up the protagonists splitting up, with two heading out to find a mysterious haven and the others held up at base camp. There are some great character beats between Reagan and Emmett that involve him teaching her how to enunciate. Emily Blunt’s character must contend with looking after a baby and her injured son while also worrying about creatures and diminishing oxygen supplies.
The aspects that garnered the first film such praise are developed further in this sequel. The moments of tension are almost unbearable, which is achieved in part thanks to an incredible score by Marco Beltrami, who is also responsible for the first film’s score. The score this time round accentuates the pressure cooker feeling the film delivers and lends weight to the more emotional moments. While the first film was praised more for visual and technical aspects, the script in A Quiet Place Part II holds its own.
While the film runs at a swift 97 minutes, there are still moments of downtime and relief, allowing audiences to recover between scares. Tension increases and decreases expertly, allowing the story to hold the audience in its palm. Some scenes, however, do lean into generic viusuals and tropes. When we arrive in a village housing other survivors, everyone is kind and it’s essentially a utopia. Another scene involves savages on the docks, who are depicted as basic, one-dimensional ‘bad guys’ who serve no purpose other than, presumably, to provide a different sort of threat from the relentless creature attacks.
Krasinski has once again flexed his directorial muscles to success, bringing an even more well-crafted, and beautifully shot film to the screen. The direction is clear, while the action is tense and well-paced. A Quiet Place Part II is a chillingly effective horror that keeps you squirming in your seat.
By Brett Herlingshaw
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