This is a tense and wonderfully directed horror film. That lives up to its predecessor in spite of never quite matching its high points.
This is a sequel to the surprise horror hit of 2018 A Quiet Place. The film begins before the events of the first film as we are shown the arrival of the nasty alien creatures that hunt humans based on sound. Their hearing is so acute that even the subtlest of noises can attract the monsters. After a wonderful opening sequence, the movie picks up immediately following the events of the first film with the Abbot family having to leave their farm in search of other survivors. Emily Blunt is great as ever as Evelyn Abbott the matriarch with a lot on her plate. But the standouts here are Millicent Simmonds as Regan the deaf daughter who thinks she may have a way of defeating the aliens. And Noah Jupe as Marcus the son who is struggling to grow up in this nightmare landscape.
Simmonds and Jupe give wonderful almost wordless performances. They are so expressive and emotive that every moment feels real. They are great actors doing wonderful work. They really carry the film.
We know the Abbots and the aliens from the first film. This movie introduces us to new characters like Emmett played by Cillian Murphy. Emmett is a man traumatized by his experiences surviving this world. His story is implied and hinted at, but it’s effect is made so palpable by Murphy’s haunted face and fierce gaze.
John Krasinski best known as Jim from The Office is the writer director one again, and he shows a major talent for building tension and highlighting actors performances. There’s a great moment in which Regan is struggling with a first aid kit and we see an alien enter the room and approach her from behind. We know she can’t hear it’s approach and through simple camera work the tension is ratcheted up to eleven. A different kind of moment all together involves Emmett struggling to come to terms with everything he’s endured as he faces a sunrise. He stands still as the camera circles him and the waves of emotion crash over his face. It’s a really great moment and highlights so much of why Krasinski has a great future ahead of him as a director.
The film doesn’t reach the terrifying heights of the bathtub scene in the original. It also doesn’t have the powerful emotional core of the family unit that the first film uses to great effect. The movie falls into the sequel trap of splitting up its main characters for the follow up. This challenges the characters in new ways, but also sacrifices the group dynamic that made the first film so strong.
The ending is odd because it’s really drawn out then it ends extremely abruptly. And there are some logical inconsistencies within the world which you can nitpick over for hours after.
I wouldn’t let those issues spoil the movie for anyone. This is a great time at the movies. I saw it in the theater. At the start there was rustling wrappers and whispered chat. Very quickly the entire room fell silent as the movie wove it’s spell. I overheard someone at the end say they didn’t know what they’d do with all the movie snacks that they forgot to eat during the movie. I think that’s pretty high praise.
If you can see it safely in the theater, do it. It’s worth it for the group experience. Horror movies are always fun with a crowd, and this one was a great experience.
This is definitely my cup of tea. A-