When it was released in 2018, A Quiet Place ended up being a really pleasant surprise. A good, effective horror film which took full advantage of the nature of sound in cinema. That said, I didn’t really think there was a need for any more films to follow. I was intrigued when a sequel was announced and the trailers did look solid, but watching the film, I have to say I was disappointed.
Picking up almost immediately after the events of the first film, the film follows the Abbott family who have to leave their home and are trying to find any other survivors of the alien’s attacks. On their journey they come across Emmett, a former friend of the family, who has holed himself up in an abandoned foundry. After discovering a radio signal, Regan Abbott decides to journey to find out where the signal is coming from, with Emmett eventually going after her, in the hopes of finding survivors. Now there are some elements in the film that work pretty well, particularly with the cynical nature of Emmett and how he’s been traumatised by what has happened and the sense of hope that Regan has, especially given that she has the means to kill the aliens, but on the whole I found this to be lacking when compared to the first film. The first big problem with the film is how the family dynamic that helped make the first film work so well is pretty much gone here. By having the family split up for most of the film, you don’t get any of the same kind of character beats that made the first one work. It also doesn’t help that in the third act, it feels like the writers couldn’t think of anything for Marcus Abbott to do, so they shoehorn in a conflict that just robs a lot of the tension from the film. It also felt like a bit of an ego trip for John Krasinski, given how much of the film is spent gushing over how good his character in the first film was, which does not make up for how his absence in the bulk of the film is felt.
Where the story falls apart, the performances do pick it up. Millicent Simmonds is still a commanding screen presence and the choice of having a deaf actress play this part adds to the verisimilitude of the film. She sells her optimism and desire to find other people and the growing action capabilities of her character, making her the standout performer of the film. Cillian Murphy meanwhile is solid as Emmett, showing his cynicism well and how that is eroded over the course of the film, especially with his growing relationship with Regan. Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe are fine in their roles, Blunt selling the maternal aspects of the character well, but their characters are pretty underserved by the film, whilst I felt that Djimon Honsou could have been utilised more effectively in his role.
The technical aspects of the film are also solid. Like with the first film, the sound design is the standout element, amplifying every sound made and isolating background noise so that any loud noise you hear helps build tension as it can attract the aliens. I don’t think it surpasses the first film in how sound is utilised, especially as there is more talking in the open in this one. The design of the aliens is strong and we’re able to get a better sense of how they move and attack in this one and the cinematography helps to make them an intimidating presence.
Overall, I was disappointed with A Quiet Place Part 2. The performances are strong and there is still some decent tension, but the script is not as strong here as it was in the first one and I felt it was missing the family dynamic that made the first one work so well. I wanted this to be better than it was, but what we got is a thoroughly mediocre film.
My Rating: 2.5/5