The Movie Waffler New to Netflix - A QUIET PLACE: PART II | The Movie Waffler

New to Netflix - A QUIET PLACE: PART II

New to Netflix - A QUIET PLACE: PART II
The surviving Abbott family members venture out into the world.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, John Krasinski, Djimon Hounsou

a quiet place part 2 poster

Directed by its leading man John Krasinski, 2018's A Quiet Place boasted a cracking premise. Earth has been invaded by aliens who hunt using only their hearing. Keep quiet and you'll stay safe. Of course, that's easier said than done, but one family, the Abbotts, have an advantage – thanks to their hearing impaired daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), they're fluent in Sign Language.

A Quiet Place was a confined thriller that made great use of its limited setting and mined its directorially challenging premise for all it was worth, boasting some impressive visual storytelling on Krasinski's part. A sequel was unnecessary but inevitable, and with Krasinksi's patriarch killed off at the climax of the first film he gets to focus on directing here.

a quiet place part 2 review

With a budget reportedly three times higher than its predecessor, A Quiet Place: Part II takes the Aliens/Terminator 2 route, expanding its world in a way that sees it effectively change genres, going from horror to action movie. Where the aliens were kept largely in the shadows, now they're running around in the broad daylight from the off, with the sequel opening with a flashback to the day they landed.

This opening sequence, which gives Krasinski a brief chance to reprise his role, is, much like the movie as a whole, pointless but fun and well-mounted. Part of what kept us on our toes throughout the first movie was how it began with the killing of the Abbott family's toddler son, which made us feel like anyone could potentially be offed. While the opening sequence is executed in thrilling fashion by Krasinski and his FX team, it's somewhat sapped of tension because we know the Abbotts make it out of this particular scenario.

We then cut to the immediate aftermath of the first film. Mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt) has recently given birth to a newborn and has devised a way to keep the rugrat quiet, by locking it in a box with an oxygen tank. Along with her kids, Regan and Marcus (Noah Jupe), Evelyn heads off in search of a new home and comes across Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old friend whose family have been wiped out. Emmett lives a hermit like existence, sealed away in a bunker beneath an old steel foundry.

a quiet place part 2 review

Surprisingly, having established her as a Ripley-esque heroine in the climax of the first film, Blunt's Evelyn is largely sidelined here as Emmett and Regan take centre stage when the latter heads off on her own in search of the source of a mysterious radio broadcast. Emmett gives in to Evelyn's pleading and takes off after Regan, the two eventually forming a reluctantly paired alien fighting duo.

Emmett and Regan's relationship - which is abrasive at first but blends into a surrogate father/daughter dynamic - provides the movie with its emotional centre, and Murphy and Simmonds portray this in a sweet and sensitive fashion as they take it in turns to save each other's asses in between bouts of bickering.

This sequel has one major disadvantage compared to its predecessor. In the first movie, the Abbotts had no idea how to fight back against the aliens until a late Shyamalan-esque twist that saw Regan use the frequency of her hearing aid to disrupt the ETs, causing their heads to split open like a flowered onion. Now that Regan is armed with this weapon from the off, there simply isn't the same potential for terror and so Krasinski is forced to throw more aliens in his protagonists' path to counter this narrative setback he's unwittingly created for himself.

a quiet place part 2 review

Thankfully, Krasinski proves himself as comfortable with big action set-pieces as he proved with tight, confined suspense sequences. Sure, his set-pieces do feel a little too influenced by other sci-fi movies – specifically Spielberg's War of the Worlds and the aforementioned T2 – but he assembles them in a refreshingly considered way, refusing to bombard the viewer with quick cuts and a noisy soundtrack. In fact, it's when the film drops out its sound altogether to put us in the headspace of Regan that it works best, proving that when it comes to horror, a monster lurking quietly in the background of a shot is far more effective than one leaping into the screen accompanied by a pair of crashing cymbals.

A Quiet Place: Part II is the very definition of an unnecessary but obligatory sequel, and by the time we get to its climax it begins to feel like Krasinski has scraped every last bit of honey from this particular jar. But what thrills he does manage to mine from this premise justifies a second go around with the Abbotts. It was never going to replicate the thrills of the first film because so much of that movie relied on our unfamiliarity with its world, but A Quiet Place: Part II confirms Krasinski as one of the most confident directors working in mainstream genre cinema today.

A Quiet Place: Part II is on Netflix UK/ROI now.