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A Quiet Place Part II


‘…delivers the requisite action, even with a similarly terse running time…’

2018’s A Quiet Place was a surprise, stealth hit and a franchise starter for John Krasinski, who might not have killed off his central character Lee if he’d known what a cash cow the brand might become. In a disheartening switch, Krasinski, the writer/director and producer here, swaps in Cillian Murphy as Emmett, a friend of Lee who knew of the family’s predicament all along and didn’t interfere. It’s understandable that there should be a male as part of the featured Abbott family, but this rapid reset undoes the impact of the first film. Why bemoan family members when there’s immediate off-the-peg substitutes available? Like Newt’s death at the start of Alien 3, re-setting the story inadvertently throws away the investment with the previous action.

That’s not the only problem with this sequel, which works a very similar set of moves on three times the budget, but with slightly less effect. We open with a flashback to the original alien attack, well done, but probably better left to the imagination. Then we join The Abbotts; Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and her kids Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) as they plod through he desolate countryside after monsters laid waste to their farm. ‘When you saw our flame at night, why didn’t you help?’ asks Evelyn when she comes across Emmett, and he’s got no answer, and neither do we. Instead, Emmett just clicks into the team in the place of deceased husband Lee, a like-for-like substitution that lessens potential involvement.

After Regan deciphers a clue, she and Emmett arrive at a coastal town in search of a boat that promises an escape from their predicament; the monsters can’t swim, apparently. That the dockside is filled with marauding pirates is necessary to the series strategy of multiple jeopardies unfolding at once, but it seems strange that none of these zombie scumbots thought of actually using one of the boats for themselves to escape the predatory creatures breathing down their necks. The silence gimmick, very effective first time around, seems more like a novelty here, with no real discoveries about the aliens other than what was previously established.

Logic gaffes are plentiful here, but at least they serve the purpose of delivering thrills, and A Quiet Place: Part II delivers the requisite action, even with a similarly terse running time. Simmonds in particular is a stand-out, as she was in the first film, but while A Quiet Place was heralded as a minor classic, this slavish continuation feels like a golden goose pursued into something of a dead end.



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  1. I like Blunt and the characters she plays. The Angel of Verdun and then the mom from Looper. Both were very similar but different enough for me.
    Wasn’t this based on a video game? Or am I getting media mixed up?

  2. I think you’ve been overly harsh on Krasinski here. While having the hero commit suicide *is* a rookie mistake (Douglas Adams once quipped “Don’t destroy the Earth in Chapter One. You’ll need it later.”), Emmet is in no way a stand-in for Dad.

    Dad was an idealist and would help anyone in a second. Emmet is self-serving – not willing to risk himself for anyone. This allows for a contrast both to Dad, and to daughter Regan – who takes it upon herself to pick up where Dad left off and save herself, her family, and quite possibly the world. It’s her sense of hope and integrity that inspires Emmet to become a better version of himself.

    In the end, Krasinski is setting up Regan (and brother Marcus) to carry the rest of the franchise. In a sort of “and the children shall lead” theme, Regan was the McGuffan in Part One, the Hero in Part Two, and potentially the Mentor in Part Three.

    Your reviews continue to engage me. We don’t always agree, but I always come back for more. Continued Success!

    • Great Douglas Adams quite! Never set out to be over agreeable, and happy to have done cut and thrust. You’re almost certainly right that this is a transformative middle chapter, and Regan is the best character for sure, and you may well be right that she’s about to start carrying the franchise. But I think this film could have used about her ten minutes or so just on character, perhaps the first film had a fuller set of archetypes to play with, but Emily Blunt’s character didn’t sing for me the same way here. Even Emmett might have persuaded me more with a few more notes, but somehow the stripped down narrative of these films doesn’t allow for all family members to develop together. But I reserve the right to change my mind if Part 3 lands some big ideas. Thanks for the positive comments too, disagreement is the grit in the oyster that makes the pearl.

    • And it’s a plus that this aims to be a continuation of that story, rather than a new story with the same characters. The power of the first film is somewaht intermittent…but wotth a watch if you like Part I

      • ‘Wait until it’s free’ is the line I’d have put on t shirts for a large proportion of what I’m seeing right now. There’s precious few movies that are worth shelling out for!

  3. Haven’t seen this one…will probably get around to it, but in no rush. I enjoyed the first one a lot, but it just seems like such a one-and-done, I couldn’t see how the sequel could live up to it.

    • It doesn’t; there’s nothing like the protracted climax of the first one, although the individual sequences are generally well done. fans may lap it up, but there’s nothing here that wasn’t done better before.

  4. Certainly got the impression that what was most on the makers’ mind was setting up a trilogy, presumably with Emily Blunt more to the fore. The kids have all made their bones so now we have a fully-fledged family. I enjoyed the origin scene and any time the monsters appeared – but that’s just me, I like monsters – but I felt the sequel was saddled with poor decisions made in the original. Still enjoyable.

    • Yup, the original does make some misteps, including arguably killing off the lead. I can’t think of many sequels that told you less about a world that you already knew. We still dodn’t know where the monsters are from, or how they got here, or what the possible solutions might be; I’ve got few burning questions about any of it…

      • And we may never find out. There will certainly be a third film – this one has done well enough – but whether the budget will be in the range of film one or film two would be an interesting question.

    • Save up Tomorrow War a rainy day then, because it’s monsters a gogo. But I felt that Blunt was underserved here, and it’s one of these sequels that only feels that the story moves forward a chapter or two.

      • Yes she was pretty much in the background most of the time after she had done so much of the heavy lifting. Not sure the film was that well served by going down the kiddies route.

  5. I entirely agree – I enjoyed this sequel but I felt it was lacking a lot compared to the original. It looks like it’s setting up for a Part III (and perhaps this is why the conclusion of this one was a little underwhelming), but that’ll desperately need fresh ideas as there were many elements in Part II that seemed tired and overfamiliar. Sure there were plenty of logical inconsistencies, but there were several in the original; I think they might have stood out more now because we were less distracted by the familiar threat and suspense. This film’s postponed release was well timed – a lot of people were desperate to see a popcorn movie after restrictions were relaxed and it delivered, so it probably generated more of a buzz than it deserved. It wasn’t a bad film, and I did enjoy watching it, but it was like eating a big mac – enjoyable at the time, but ultimately forgettable.

    • I think it’s been one of the few out and out hits post pandemic, and as you say, was probably the right film at the right time. It certainly aims to play the same tunes as the first one, but I think it’s ok for the casual viewer to feel underwhelmed. As for part III, I’m not sure what resolution would interest me. As you say, we have more time to think about this deadly world by now, and it really doesn’t make sense. Still, a time-passer…

    • Maybe Stephen King’s It was another one where the first part seemed so nimble in depicting multiple characters, and yet the second film just doesn’t. The exception here being Regan, who one of the other commenters correctly noted now seems to be the heart of the franchise. I don’t watch films because I desire to make a snarky commentary on the plot holes, but I just can’t ignore them here, and fear the first film may seem weaker as a result. I think the first film will stay in the mind, but despite some care, this second installment misses out on something key…

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