“A Quiet Place Part II” (2021) Review
Written by Victor DeBonis
I admire a good horror film that continues to work with a clever premise and add different elements that give a little bit more to each entry. In the case of “Quiet Place II” it fits the bill quite nicely by providing more moments in which people are trying to find safety and survive an onslaught of deaf creatures that attack, based on hearing their own victims. Once more, director John Krasinski works superbly with this type of narrative, using long shots and filming close enough to the survivors as they’re trying to make their way through this post-apocalyptic world without being swallowed alive.
As one might imagine, this type of movie holds its share of jump scares, but they feel earned, and they actually make sense to be implemented through this terrain, given the challenges that these people face in possibly making the tiniest sound and ending up either fleeing for their lives or getting mauled. The entire theater that I was involved in barely budged when these scenes were occurring because everyone, myself included, was sucked into how suspenseful everything was.
Admittedly, a part of me was initially a bit skeptical about how this movie would fare when compared to its predecessor, since the original focused much on trying to survive the night, and, I personally feel that it can be easier to be taken down when it’s darker, even if these creatures can’t see. However, I’m grateful that this film was just as intense as the previous one with me gritting my teeth to see if crunching a leaf or someone’s ringing device would stir these creatures. The fact that this family is still making their way out into a wide-open world, instead of mostly around a house, does bring more possibilities for just barely making it to another point, and this film takes full advantage of that. It’s also helped by the fact that the cinematography is well-executed, too, and provides impressive shots of terrain that’s obviously been devastated from the ordeal but still boasts vivid, crisp colors and looks vast to explore or try to find one’s way through.
Additionally, the actors are terrific in this movie. Emily Blunt and the child actors work quite well of each other, and every one of them moves and looks at each other with a clear sense of weariness mixed with a considerable strength that manages to overcome the former. The child actors, in particular, have great moments when delivering conversations through sign language, and I feel that the director made a great choice with casting a child actress who is, in reality, deaf. The ease and swiftness of the sign-language-based conversations feel all the more genuine and intense, due to touches, such as this. Cillian Murphy, similar to everything else that he’s in, gives a great performance, and his eyes carry that shaking glint of desperation and sheer fear from everything that’s surrounded him.
One element that the film could’ve taken advantage more of consists of diving a little more into getting a sense of what these characters are like. It’s true that we see that they’ve clearly lost loved ones and family to this situation, and we see a definite connection between the family itself, but we don’t find out more about interests or what their lives were like before these monsters arrived, and, to me, that was a missed opportunity, especially since the movie is a bit on the short side. Granted, in a day and age in which a general, mainstream movie is at least two and a half hours long, I suppose that I should be thankful that it’s not overwhelmingly long for once, but I still stand by saying that I would’ve liked to dive a bit into these characters a little bit more or, at least, do what “Dunkirk” did in terms of being a movie that was lacking in characterization but made up for it by taking it even further with its own intensity and atmosphere. Also, there’s a specific place in the movie that is obviously a destination of sorts that draws a little interest, but I feel as though the story could’ve explored a bit more of what this location was like, too, to make us more fascinated with the area.
The other factor that was strange was how the narrative goes at the end. I won’t spoil anything, but I was a little bit stunned by how abrupt it was when it reached the point that it did. Quick conclusions can bother me a little bit, and I sensed that I knew where this story was probably going to go and have its events occur as they did, but the abruptness before everything was done still a little jarring.
All in all, “A Quiet Place Part II” was a solid horror experience that still knew how to make the most of its brilliant premise, and it was, yet, another experience that made me satisfied that theatrical films appear to be on the path towards making a comeback. As intense as it might be to still see it at home, there’s nothing like watching a movie, such as this, with an almost-packed audience and practically gripping your seat in anticipation of whether a single sound will do someone in. More could be done with the characters and story, but the sheer experience does more than well in making the audience feel as though one small sound from them could cause one of the monsters to attack, too, and it just goes to show how much this film knows what it means to cause true suspense and horror.