The first “Quiet Place” was a revelation, treading a fine line between moderate horror and thriller and appearing out of nowhere, like the aliens terrorizing the family.
For the sequel, Director John Krasinski initially strays in front of the camera for an extended first movie pre-sequence. This quickly sketches out how and when the aliens first arrived, disrupting that most American summer pastime, the little league baseball game.
Back to to the sequel and the film picks up precisely where we left off, with “Evelyn Abbott” (Emily Blunt), struggling to hold her diminished family together with loaded shotgun in hand.
Eventually deciding to leave the comparative safety of their hideout and pursue signals indicating others are still alive, they set out on a perilous journey. As before, any sound can give the family away attracting aliens, which usually does not end well.
Both “Regan” (Millicent Simmonds) and “Marcus” (Noah Jupe) return, while Regan has established the monsters Achilles heel via her hearing aid, she struggles to weaponise that knowledge. Like the typical teenager, Regan sets out to solve the family’s problems but originally, only adds to the issues the family must face.
Meanwhile, complete with infant within make-do crib, Evelyn eventually stumbles on reluctant help from previous neighbour “Emmett” (Cillian Murphy), who has experienced his own trauma. However, not before Marcus makes an unfortunate wince inducing misstep, only further adding to their woes.
Director Kransinki slowly ramps up the intensity and claustrophobia, with very effective CGI monsters scurrying into view at the slightest noise within an abandoned factory. This is as effective as before but dissipates when directorial choices are made to play out three strands of threat at the same time, segueing between each scene, which pulls the audience out of the individual sequence.
As before, sound is utilised effectively to highlight oncoming danger and the real risks of talking out loud. This leads to a bravura end sequence with an effective pay off, with viewers cheering on the kids to do what needs to be done.
The cast are as good as ever, Blunt always impresses but arguably has less to do than the first film, Jupe continues to show he is no movie moppet. Simmonds remains the stand out again, bringing her real life experience of hearing impairment to the film.
The aliens are as frightening as ever, although later island sequences only highlight the difficulty of CGI in full sunlight with fast moving images. Djimon Hounsou is also disappointingly underused in the end sequence, despite the relatively swift running time of only 97 minutes.
Incidentally this film was another casualty of COVID, hitting cinema screens just as the virus hit and then being much delayed before finally receiving a deserved theatrical release.
Never quite hitting the heights of the first film and allowing some tension to drain away, this however remains an enjoyable watch with great acting and strong underlying storyline.
Decent box office suggests Part 3 will appear, it will be good to see where and how the family’s journey ends.