Directed by: John Krasinski
Premise: Immediately following the events of the previous movie, a widowed mother (Emily Blunt) and her children return to town in search of help. The family encounters an old friend (Cillian Murphy) who helps them combat the monsters that have overrun Earth.
What Works: A Quiet Place Part II continues and in some ways enhances the strengths of the original picture. At its essence, this is a monster movie and the film continues to succeed in delivering scares and thrills. The filmmakers show good judgement with the monsters, showing us just enough but without overexposing the creatures. Like the original film, Part II is so effective at scaring the audience because of the skillfully executed set pieces. The filmmakers design the action deliberately to get maximum impact out of shocks and reveals. Sound is also used effectively. The daughter played by Millicent Simmonds is deaf and the filmmakers use that detail to their advantage, shifting between objective and subjective sound. A Quiet Place Part II also expands the scope of the story. This series is a tale of survival and the first film was an intimate story of a family trying to get by. The second picture opens up the story world and deals with the aftermath of trauma. In Part II the characters encounter what the alien invasion has done not only to civilization but to the people who have survived. Cillian Murphy’s character has lost faith in people and he and the other survivors have to find a reason to move forward.
What Doesn’t: A Quiet Place Part II is not quite as frightening or as emotionally resonant as the first film. The original picture was extraordinary in a number of ways, among them the vivid portrait of a family trying to survive. The sequel doesn’t have anything as immediately or viscerally engaging. It’s also not as tight of a story. The film begins with an extended prologue sequence of the alien monsters arrival on Earth. It’s an exceptional action set piece that reintroduces the family but the prologue is also redundant; nothing about this sequence adds to our understanding of the alien invasion or the family beyond what we saw in the first film. Part II splits into two narratives with Millicent Simmonds and Cillian Murphy’s characters on a journey while the mother and her son and infant baby take shelter. The story of Simmonds and Murphy’s characters is good but the film doesn’t give the mother and son much to do. They are in a solely reactive position and while the stories are intertwined quite well the mother and son story is not as interesting.
Bottom Line: A Quiet Place Part II is a worthy sequel. The movie doesn’t have the impact of its predecessor but it does recapture much of what was so successful in the first film while expanding the story and deepening the themes.
Episode: #854 (June 6, 2021)