By David Dent
‘A Quiet Place’ was a bit of game changer on the fright flick scene; a movie about the world invasion of blind, aggressive alien creatures, incredibly sensitive to sound, with the result that absolute quiet is needed to avoid detection and death. Low on action, high on nail-biting tension and bold directorial moves (the first 40 odd minutes is dialogue free, for example), it was a breath of fresh air in the horror movie world, despite its simple ‘family in peril’ setup.
It’s a fair bet that if you didn’t like ‘A Quiet Place’ you’re not going to get much out of this sequel. Set literally minutes after the end of the first movie, we’re back with the Abbott family – mum Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) – but not dad Lee (John Krasinski, who again directs) who sacrificed himself at the end of the first movie.
In his place, as resident alpha male we have family friend, the rather misanthropic Emmett (Cillian Murphy, looking sort of unidentifiable under a bushy beard). We’re treated to a little backstory as to the origin of the alien takeover (the first film started 89 days into the invasion), a big set piece which sets the audience up for a perhaps more peppy sequel. But no, Krasinski basically gives us more of what he served up in the first part, a study of a family at war just trying to stay alive; he even retains the services of Marco Beltrami whose score is practically identical to the first movie.
The star of the piece is undoubtedly Simmonds as the resourceful Regan; this is her movie. Not one to let her deafness define her, she’s in the majority of scenes and her ability to convey terror and determination, vulnerability and inner strength, at times makes ‘Part II’ feel like a calling card for a bigger Hollywood career. It’s Regan who provides the movie with its narrative arc – a search for another community generated via a coded signal that only she picks up – and the ability to foil the aliens by jamming their heads with feedback from her hearing aid.
Krasinski should be congratulated for creating something substantial from a fairly standard B movie alien encounter setup, but after two largely similar explorations of the same world, I’m not sure the premise would support many more instalments.