I finally got around to watching the second half of John Krasinski’s memorable sci-fi horror fantasy yesterday evening, and I admit, it’s a film well worth the watch if horror films are your cup of tea. This is a sequel worth seeing. While alien visitation goes back a long way, the spin Krasinski puts on the classic premise makes it pretty unique. I confess horror is not my favorite brand of science fiction, but this is a good one. The film’s narratives get based on an idea that explores, once again, the question of what sort of alien lifeform we might encounter if uninvited guests from another planet were to pay us a surprise visit.
In this case, these visitors are blind, vicious, bloodthirsty, sharp-fanged killers that rely on their hearing to locate their prey. Superstrong, and armed with powerful claws, they walk like wingless bats that are capable of rapid acceleration when called for. Although they look like predators, no explanation is forthcoming about why they seem determined to kill us. There is no indication they kill for food. In fact, these aliens are never depicted feeding on anything. They are depicted as merciless killing machines, that kill anything that moves. In this case, movement equals life, and these creatures are the executioners. The sound of movement by anything triggers a kill response. In short, they are a living nightmare come to call.
Like many monster movies, the film keeps its focus on how the arrival of these creatures affects the lives of one small group of humans. In this case, it’s one family that emerges in the role of the film’s protagonists. The story arc in this film follows what happens to the Abbots, the family featured in the first film, in the aftermath of the father’s demise. Without a clear destination, the widow/mother, with her two kids in tow, and the quietest baby in the history of cinema, undertake a perilous journey.
Most of this journey takes place in silence, and silence plays an important role in this story. This film mostly concerns itself with their odyssey across a surreal landscape in a world transformed by the arrival of the aliens. What they encounter along the way is a reminder that not all of the monsters in the world are aliens. It becomes a journey of self-discovery to a degree for everyone involved except that baby. Like most horror movies it becomes a question of who will survive and who will die. We care because the film does a good job of getting us to care about these characters and what happens to them. This family becomes the classic underdogs and I found myself rooting for them in a story that suggests that in all likelihood they will die.
Not familiar with this title? A Quiet Place Part II is a 2020 American post-apocalyptic horror film and the sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place, following the family from the first film, the Abbots, as they continue to navigate and survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind aliens with an acute sense of hearing. The film was written, produced, and directed by John Krasinski for Paramount Pictures. Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe reprise their roles from the first film, while Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou join the cast; Krasinski returns from the first film in a new flashback sequence.
The cast does a great job in this. The acting skills of the child thespians are very impressive. After a brief introduction that serves as a reminder of how we got here, it felt like the film got off to a slow start, but soon after that, the film maintains a pretty steady pace. I cannot really say much more about the plot without spoiling the story, but it does involve some irony and surprises. The success of horror films, in general, relies a great deal on creating suspense and tension. A Quiet Place II is no slouch in this department creating tension in some parts that is nearly unbearable. This film is a masterclass in creating suspense and tension in a movie and is a very entertaining, and enjoyable film overall.