Since the preceding film, A Quiet Place, was a surprise hit in 2018, its sequel was naturally expected to be a success. That being said, writer/director John Krasinski’s second installment is a sincere, tension-building success well worth the trip to the theater. The film trusts its audience to remember what happened in part one and throws viewers into the middle of the story; it shrugs off the technical questions for a focus on more audio-based drama.
As the first film took place after the invasion, Krasinski returns to the day the aliens first came to claw their way through humanity. Terrorized citizens run and pray while Lee (Krasinski) flees with his family just as we cut back to the film’s official starting point. Lee is now dead, and his wife and three children are now in search of a new home. They encounter Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who gives a bitter monologue while struggling to trust in other people. Truly, the investment of these actors is the thread that is woven through this film and ties it all together. Emily Blunt gives another powerhouse performance as Evelyn while Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Millicent Simmonds & Noah Jupe) are given the screen time to dive deeper into their respective roles.
Emmett’s hideout is the first of many intricate set pieces that includes an abandoned rail yard, a creaking dock, and an important radio station. Krasinski exposes the aliens to broad daylight in this film, which, while not as gripping as keeping them hidden in the shadows, is just as chilling to see. There are moments when the film is perfectly brutal, making all the best of It’s PG-13 rating. It doesn’t linger on its own gruesomeness, perhaps due to the budgetary concerns, but its brief depictions of body horror still linger in your mind long after the credits have rolled.
With so many good sets, I was a bit bemused when our characters set down a forest path that looked so perfectly maintained. Perhaps some of the aliens are forest rangers. It would make sense because, aside from hunting down the rest of humanity,they must be awfully bored with such easy prey. But as I said, some technical questions invariably fall to the wayside, and the deep-rooted struggles of the characters carry us through the story, even if the world around them carries a few inconsistencies.
If you arrive at the theater expecting some big reveal, I’d tailor that expectation. As the characters, particularly Regan, set out and discover new locations and survivors, we hardly learn more about them, nor the aliens. Adding to the world established by the first film does not seem to be Krasinski’s concern with this second installment. The simplicity of the first film allowed for the exploration of this world through the perspective of one family, but this film wants to expand upon that until it suddenly stops. The ending is abrupt, disorienting. Like the Alien franchise, the first film was more atmospheric, while here the focus falls on the action.
Nevertheless, this is an effective summer horror film that could have easily fallen apart without the heart it carries.The characters take on new responsibilities, their bare feet bleeding as they walk along the railroad tracks, and we are there walking beside them through it all. And as the first film, it will have audiences who are afraid to breathe
Follow HorrOrigins Social Media