91 / 100
Watchable Minutes : 97 / 97. Every second of this franchise has been worth watching so far. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire run time.
Trailer Comparison : This is one of the instances were the trailer perfectly sets up the movie. It really showed small, yet powerful moments to illicit the same feelings as the main movie. It functioned as a good thesis statement for the movie, which many trailers fail to do.
Move or Film : Much like the first movie, there isn’t much to extrapolate out into a real, honest film. There are motifs and messages kinda strewn about, but nothing cohesive.
- Run time : 1 hr 37 minutes
- Studio : Paramount
- Director : John Krasinksi
- Where to Watch : Theatrical Release (2021)
Continuing right where the previous chapter left off, the remaining members of the Abbot family flee their destroyed homestead and hope that one of their surviving friends from before the invasion is willing to help them. After arriving to find that there are no spare supplies to support the ruined family, Reagan Abbot takes it upon herself to find a way to save her family.
This movie finally came out, after gestating in the Hollywood machine for about a year and some change due to the pandemic. Based on the shocking success of the original, it makes complete sense that they felt it would do better if it was stored away for a full theatrical release. Part of the magic of the first movie was sitting in that big dark room during the absolute silence of some scenes. I remember hearing audible gasps during the first movie because it was so silent. The same goes for pt. II, it was so quiet that I could hear a pin drop and there were just as many audible gasps. Spoilers ahead, so beware.
A Quiet Place Pt II actually opens up with a few minutes of prequel material, starting with day 1. This gave us some information as to the origin of the monsters, which are actually aliens as it turns out. It also showed just how quickly humanity had to adapt to survive. You had just a few seconds to figure out that making a single sound would get you killed. There was no grand plan by the governments to say you had to be quiet because they were caught just as off guard as the general populace. It really drove home the point that this was truly survival of the fittest and amped up the urgency and tension. After the this opening sequence, PT II picks up just moments after the end of PT I with the Abbots fleeing from their destroyed home to find a neighbor from their past. After reaching the edge of their territory, they have to voyage into the familiar yet unknown areas. No sand paths will guide them from here on out. After arriving at their neighbors base, they are quickly told that they cannot stay. It appears that Emmett doesn’t have enough supplies to support four more mouths. This is kind of an annoying concept that I’m sure many people saw coming, myself included. There had to be a reason and this one is kinda lame. Whatever, minor nitpick. Once they realize that Emmett is serious, Reagan decides it is up to her to save the rest of the remaining population. She discovers a radio station that is playing a certain song that leads her to believe there is a sanctuary out on an island. She thinks that if she can get to this radio station, she can use her modified hearing aid from the first movie and amplify the volume to broadcast that feedback loop. It’s a solid plan, but it would have made more sense if the whole family caravanned to this radio station since they all understood the gravity of the situation. It would have been easy to show Emmett how their discovery worked and say that we can all make it if we go together, but stubborn teenagers with something to prove will be stubborn teenagers with something to prove. I was expecting Emmett to be some sort of gross, post apocalyptic hermit that couldn’t really be trusted and that they always had to keep an eye on, but he was 100% trustworthy (aside from the random body he was keeping in the upstairs of his base). I was pleasantly surprised by this and thought it was a good move.
As Reagan moves across the valley and discovers that things aren’t quite as easy as she thought they would be, Emmett is not far behind and eventually they meet up and she convinces him that now is his chance to redeem himself for not doing enough for his family. They begin to work together and eventually find a dock with some working boats. This is where I the movie earns most of the points because at this point, the story is split into three interwoven branches that all create their own emotions and tensions. While Emmett and Reagan are dealing with slimy, Point Lookout Fallout 3 looking bandits at the dock, Evelynn is trying to get more air tanks for her baby’s silencer bassinet. While both of those scenes are playing out, Marcus is trapped inside the furnace with his baby brother as one of the aliens tears apart Emmett’s base. Each one of these mini storylines is swapped back and forth the moment tension hits it’s peak so that the audience is kept on it’s toes. When Evelynn and Marcus’s scenes are combined again, the movie flips back to focus on what I feel is the main storyline with Reagan and Emmett. They discover an island that is filled with thriving and sound making inhabitants. Turns out, the aliens can’t swim so that’s neat. I can’t decide if them being bad swimmers is stupid or not. I guess it will depend on how the third movie uses that information. The rest of the movie plays out in typical fashion with the two eldest Abbott children growing up and taking care of the people they care about in the same way that their father would have. Overall, I found it to be a strong compliment to the original movie and have mostly minor issues that only cost a few points here and there.
The writing for this movie is excellent. The few minutes of chaos from Day 1 was perfectly executed and provided a great primer to remind us how dangerous these aliens are and will continue to be. Even after the discovery of the sound feedback attack, the writers chose to make sure the aliens weren’t just tossed aside. In similar end of the world stories, like the Walking Dead, the zombies are no longer the problem because the other people are so much worse once society collapses. While there are flavors of that here, that concept doesn’t take over this movie. Pairing that choice with not making Emmett a scumbag by giving him a redemption arc was very smart. It gave us something to hope for while still maintaining the menace and fear that the aliens evoked in the audience. To further drive that point home, it was nice to see the bandit clan get wrecked by the aliens because they were overconfident. It shows that in this world, numbers and brutality are not enough to outwit the perfect killing machines. You have to be smart and cooperate with respect, not fear.
Similar to the writing, I found the direction, sound design, and score to be very well done. The slow and meandering camera angles with low angles worked wonders and drove the fear and adrenaline up while I was in the theater. I was nervous at all the right times and didn’t really take a moment off. I found that there were several instances where spoken dialogue would have cued the the audience to what was happening in a shorter time, but chose not to. The camera played by the rules of the movie and showed us instead, as if we were a character in this world too. The characters were aware of their problems, but because they couldn’t speak, the camera had to show us instead. I appreciate that approach to movie making because it empowers the audience to figure it out on our own. Similar things can be said about the sound design, the audience was empowered through the characters fear and dread with how quiet everything was. There were stretches of silence that seemed to stretch for minutes, but were only a few seconds. Pairing that with a score that kept it’s foot on the gas the whole time and matched every scene perfectly, you have an unmatched theater experience.
The last bit I want to cover is acting, and I think that the few minutes of screen time that John Krasinski had in PT II really emphasized his work in PT I. Obviously this is more of the Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy show and both of them played their roles well. I thought that Emily Blunt kept Evelynn grounded and focused on her kids survival. She knew there would be a time to mourn for Lee, but not until after her kids were safe. Cillian Murphy kept his broken Emmett motivated and human. He wasn’t insane or angry, just lonely and sad. I’ve seen enough of their work to give any movie they’re in a fair chance, and both of them together did not disappoint. Neither of them really ran away with the show, but they were believable in every one of their scenes. Now, for the kid actors. Millicent Simmonds as Reagan and Noah Jupe as Marcus were both as fine as any experienced adult actor. They really laid their groundwork well in the first movie to make me like them and feel for them. I think they took what they learned in the last movie and maintained a steady, upwards trajectory in performance. Similar to Blunt and Murphy, neither of them really stole the show or gave a breakout performance. All together, this was a great cast and I hope to see them all return for a part 3.
A Quiet Place Pt II is one of the rare sequels that is better than the original in my opinion. It’s in great company with things like Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, and The Godfather PT 2. The superb writing and direction, coupled with the return of an out of the box scoring and sound design, PT II is an excellent follow up to the original movie. I think that Krasinski has earned my ticket money for a part III as well as any other projects he pursues.
If you like this, check out :
- A Quiet Place
- The Conjuring