What funny timing that the long-awaited sequel to A Quiet Place was originally scheduled to come out during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ended up delaying its release to when things were slowly getting settled. But it just speaks more as to how timely this series has ended up being. The first celebrated the power of family and the importance of communication amidst facing your fears, and now A Quiet Place Part II happens to connect this post-apocalyptic setting to the one we feel like we’re living in now. It reflects how even when our nation’s functionality may be changed forever of 9/11 proportions, we still don’t have to worry about relying on today’s generation of kids, as they are living in a time that sees how one’s supposed drawback can be turned into an advantage. So maybe it’s for the best that this movie was delayed, that way we can be mindful of the future that John Krasinski has envisioned.
This sequel makes sure to follow the same filmmaking style of the original; between the recognizable use of editing, sound, and cinematography, you get invested in the way the family interacts, as the jump scares help you see just how infuriated they each have become from living in this type of world. Multiple subplots go on as the culture of this time is further expanded upon, in turn allowing the tension to build and leave as it shifts between each subplot. Even if the CGI on the monsters still sucks, all the buildup to the appearance of these things is the real salt of the experience.
Yet this still isn’t nearly as impactful as the first movie, because it lacks the glue that really made it so powerful: the sense of bonding between the family like there was in the first movie. It isn’t even there during the prologue where they’re all at a noisy baseball game; the setup may work to the benefit of showing how nobody had any idea of the pandemic that would come to destroy the world, but it still informs of no new information about any of the family members. This prologue wasn’t even necessary to include in the final edit because nothing it shows comes back as a prevalent theme later. Besides the meaningless way the film begins, there’s also this new guy who seems to be just there throughout most of the feature with the surviving members of the family; he seems to be a new father figure to them, but he fails to fulfill that role satisfactorily. You know there’s a problem when there’s a more noticeable backstory to the empty cars on the freeway than there is on both the old and new faces.
In addition to the flaws, the daughter doesn’t have any sort of motive to want to save the world, since now she barely ever mentions her deceased father. It could have been conveyed more in the prologue, but it is instead plainly shot and directed like it’s any other non-horror movie, nothing like the first movie. Likewise, Emily Blunt’s character now seems rather passive, just doing whatever the plot says she has to do. So the mother and kids together are no longer relatable for audiences of any age as their passions are defined only by the outside events, not by their genuine desires carried off from the first movie.
The troublesome screenplay is where Krasinski’s subtle yet incredible direction comes to save the day. He knows how to do crying scenes, as when the daughter does so, there’s absolutely no sound to be heard at all, proving how this does in fact have an understanding on how the loss of Dad really affected the kids. Krasinski allows time as well for Mom to mourn at her son’s grave, giving her a little sense of progress from where the last movie picked off. In that same way, the daughter starts mouthing syllables, breaking stereotypes about the Deaf community and giving her more a sense of leverage onto her own capabilities. With other components designed around the concept of noticing every little thing that makes noise, both Krasinski and production designer Jess Gonchor (Little Women, No Country For Old Men) put a ton of thought into the minutest detail, particularly objects you only notice in the extreme closeups. They even go through the trouble of briefly including the spaceship toy from the first movie as an easter egg.
It really works that the majority of the movie feels like it naturally flows off the first installment, as it does by starting with the same couple of shots to get you back into the familiar groove. It even includes some new instances of shock similar to the nail in the stairs—that includes a painful bear trap scene. But it’s still got other slower, more peaceful moments to set itself apart from part 1, making it more its own individual thing. There’s a nice calm campfire set in place so that the bad things that’ll happen later can be set up properly after time to relax. It also has a pretty sunrise over a lake that makes you not even notice how smoothly these events picked up so perfectly from the previous movie.
So if you liked the first movie, then you’ll surely appreciate this continuation, as it does precisely what a sequel is supposed to do: building off of what was previously established. The real hidden genius is how in the first movie, when the monster was killed, you thought that it was the end of it and the family could kill the remaining two beasts and life could get back to normal. But instead, A Quiet Place Part II breaks the “happy ending” tradition but still leaves the resolution hopeful. It understands that after a major crisis such as an alien species that hunts after noise, the world never can return to the normal it once was, but rather, it’s there to help the people come out stronger than before for the sake of their loved ones. It’s amazing how John Krasinski already understood that considering this film was completed before Coronavirus even hit the United States.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!