Length: 97 minutes
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: John Krasinski
Cast: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, and John Krasinski
Release details: In theatres 17 June (Singapore)
4 out of 5 stars
Originally slated to be out in cinemas more than a year ago, the sequel to A Quiet Place has finally hit cinemas. A Quiet Place Part II continues right where the original left off, although the overall treatment of the premise has changed. Nevertheless, it still manages to leverage on silence and sound as its weapons to scare, with some surprises in store for viewers.
A Quiet Place Part II is a science fiction horror movie that is the sequel to 2018's A Quiet Place. In the film, humanity has been ravaged by vicious aliens who are blind, but have an acute sense of hearing. To evade detection, the survivors are forced to live in silence, for the slightest noise will attract the attention of the aliens. This sequel sees the surviving members of the Abbott family encountering new allies and a new hope, as they attempt to make their way through this brave new world.
One of the allies that the Abbotts come across is Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a pessimistic recluse who has lost hope. Ironically, he finds himself having to team up with a hopeful character in the form of the Abbotts' deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), as they follow a promising trail across railway tracks and the ocean. They clash at first, of course, since Regan is determined to pursue a lead she has found, while Emmett wants nothing more than to return to the safety of his base. Exacerbating this is their difficulty in communication — Emmett doesn't understand sign language. However, their relationship develops into a genuine friendship, and it is Regan who sparks hope in Emmett's life again. Their relationship grows on you, and you can't help but subconsciously root for them. In the end, the mutual reliance they have on each other is the key to achieving their objective, which pays off for the development of their relationship.
Noah Jupe also gives a masterful performance as young son Marcus Abbott. His expressions of fear and terror are so palpable that you can't help shuddering whenever he cringes. And this time, he is on the receiving end of an incredibly painful injury (a similar technique was used in the first film with Emily Blunt's character), which compounds the fear felt in the film. He even has his own story arc, which sees him overcoming his doubts and insecurity, making him one of the most compelling characters in the film. Ultimately, he refuses to lose hope, which is one of the main themes of this sequel.
The monsters are as horrifying as ever, despite the fact that we can seem them clearly in broad daylight. It's their speed which makes them so deadly, and you're always holding your breath when they are near. While they may be relatively easily dispatched under the right conditions, they still make formidable foes for the protagonists.
With all this talk about the frights in the film, audiences might be mildly disappointed in the first and second acts of the film. The movie starts strong with a flashback to the day of the alien invasion, but after that the scares seem a little... tame. But that lulls the audience into a false sense of security, before the film springs scare after scare in Act Three. Our heroes have to face the monsters head on in the finale, and the tension can wreck your nerves at times.
However, the film does water down the premise a little — the characters make a fair bit of noise, even though they're supposed to be keeping quiet. It also introduces a new threat besides the aliens, but this threat is not properly explained and it feels like a needless complication to extend the runtime of the movie. The core idea of staying silent is a strong premise, and hewing closer to it may have improved the film overall.
No sequel is complete without a comparison to the first film, so how does A Quiet Place Part II compare to its predecessor? Well, it's certainly not as quiet anymore — there's a whole lot more dialogue in this movie (although to be fair, the script does make it plausible by establishing that the characters are in a fairly soundproof location). New character Emmett wears shoes, as opposed to the Abbott family, who go around barefoot to reduce the noise they make. But with more dialogue comes more exposition, and the film answers the questions raised by A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place Part II starts off as an average horror film, before ratcheting up the frights at the end. Strong character development anchors the story, which makes us root for the protagonists as they battle these strange aliens. It does manage to deliver scares that make use of silence, although not as much as the first film. But it's still frightening, which is what really counts.
Here are more stills from the movie:
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