Image: Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott leads their now fatherless family through the wilderness [Source: Google Images]
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
When John Krasinski released the first iteration of A Quiet Place. He stuck movie goers to their seats with the orchestrated tension of silence. He has stated that it was always intended as a stand a lone feature and that he wanted no involvement with any sequel that a studio wanted to produce. Which to be frank, it absolutely shows that this sequel was never really supposed to happen and the outcome is an assembly line of horror tropes as old as time, sloppily put together so there was something to get people in seats.
It doesn’t bring me any joy to come at A Quiet Place 2 in a non positive manner. Quite the opposite as if you go back and read my review of the first it gave a resounding yes! Full marks. I recall that I felt the first while having some cheap moments was skilfully put together, with every option from the plot progression to the aesthetically choices of the in world horror these characters found themselves having to adapt to. Which is why it is so unfortunate that in the sequel. No such attention to detail is displayed at all. In fact the plot itself seems like a rush to some optimistic finale, so much so that every passing moment of drama and the way the tension is forcefully shoe horned in like a subway sandwich through the eye of a needle comes across as dull and absolutely full of itself.
The natural complications of the plot and what inevitably produces the tension across the narrative of the first Quiet Place. It being about family after all. Is utterly lost in its sequel, instead there seems to just be a sole focus on the daughter. Not there is anything wrong with that, she has by the most interesting dynamic in this world. But instead of again peeling back the layers of these characters it becomes a box standard find the magical fairytale land where we can then save the world. It’s hardly a spoiler as this story does not having anything to spoil. The brief moments of true gripping tension such as the dockyard are too under utilised to really be given credit, I feel like this movie could have sounded the tension between the group and these ‘others’ and been the whole feature and likely would have been better off. A shift from the family focus to the tensions of a post apocalyptic world and humans can be just as predatory as the monsters. Its been done countless times, but in a this world it might have been an interesting take, none the less it would have been a far more enjoyable experience than the cash grab on display here.
Some of the merit from the first are still here, while the characters act like overblown mistake magnets. They are still performed perfectly. Every beat and every moment of horror is seen across the characters performances, Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe being the standouts, especially Jupe who carries a scene with devastating moral complexity that in my view was proper the most hair raising moment of the entire film. But it’s a moment with no consequence, and you do feel it while watching A Quiet Place 2 – everyone will be alright. The first film actually did feel like actions had consequences as we saw with Krasinski’s character. The ending of the first film was hardly a leap for joy despite getting away from the monsters. It was a crushing outcome with plenty of questions and worry and dread. I could go on and on about how A Quiet Place 2 lets down the masterful explosion onto the scene that was Krasinski’s first.
But I shall end it on this note; A Quiet Place 2 lives up to the expectations the audience has of it. It’s going to be quiet and its going to make you jump. It’s not going to be a story that resonates with well. It’s not going to be impactful narratively and the horror is going to be cheap and fun. It’s brought people out in droves to the cinemas again and I’m at least happy it has done that. If you’re looking for a box standard popcorn horror, this is it. Unlike the first where you could barely have a single piece of your popcorn for the silence being deafening, here you can feel free to shovel away.