Putting stomachs in knots and causing the clenching of arm rests – suspense returns to cinemas with A Quiet Place II picking up directly after the Abbott’s dramatic family loss as they make their silent, post-apocalyptic journey to find safety within the deadly, alien-inhabited world.
Jumping back in time, the audience is taken all the way back to day one- D-day – the day the aliens arrived on earth. The beginning is thrilling, showing how a lovely, normal day in small-town America can be completely flipped on its head and normality thrown out the window, possibly forever. As the Abbott family enjoy a relaxing weekend at the ball park, son Marcus gets ready to hit a home-run in a game of little-league, when out of the blue a giant, threatening meteorite is seen hurtling in the sky towards the ground. Effectively, no dramatic music is played – all that can be heard (or not heard) is the stunned silence of the baseball players and the surrounding crowd, paired with the hauntingly ominous sound of the giant meteorite ploughing through the clouds at high speed.
It’s quite refreshing to be shown a snapshot of what day one was like for the Abbott family and the rest of the world (there’s news of international cities being completely destroyed). From here, the audience is brought back into present time, picking up after the horrifying final moments of the first film. There’s no time to grieve, though, and no time for an emotional goodbye as the rest of the Abbott family quietly leave their now destroyed home, and make their way through the valley towards a sign of other humans. Here they are “greeted” (not exactly the warmest greeting) by Emmett, a loner who has lost his entire family and is adamant that the Abbotts shall not find refuge with him. From here, things only become more intense as the group is split up, with the storyline diverting into two dramatic journeys.
In comparison to quite a polished first film, this sequel feels as though it may have been a bit more rushed, and is a bit rougher around the edges. At times, the dialogue feels quite clunky and unrealistic, as well as unnecessary – instead of utilising the facial reactions and body movement of the very talented actors to convey a message, dialogue was used. This felt like something you would see in a year 12 film and not a multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster – the audience knows that someone not trained in sign language would struggle to communicate with someone who is living without their hearing, but this fact is fed to the audience through obvious dialogue which feels unneccesary.
A noticeable difference between the films is that A Quiet Place II shows off a lot more of the supernatural beings that have taken over the planet. You can tell that the film’s CGI budget has skyrocketed since the success of the first film, and it is interesting to see more of the aliens, though the mystery of what they look like and how they function was a large drawcard for A Quiet Place.
The entire cast is effective within their roles, especially the two teenage actors, Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott and Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott. Their journeys are very much in line with writer, director and their on-screen father, John Krasinki’s vision of A Quiet Place II centring around the children’s growth and strength within the face of not only grief, but a threat greater than they’ve ever faced (murderous aliens). They are the stars of this film, and supported well by Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy. It would have been great, though, to have been given more background and context to Cillian Murphy’s defensive, loner character, Emmett, a family-friend of the Abbott’s back in post-alien America. Unfortunately, this isn’t really explored, leaving more frustration than mystery around his character which definitely had the potential to have been fleshed out.
Although not as enjoyable or memorable as the first film, A Quiet Place II still keeps its audience within a firm grip of suspense as the Abbott family attempts to survive in this post-apocalyptic world after their tragic family loss.
A Quiet Place II opens on May 27th