Admittedly I approached A Quiet Place II with skepticism. I thought the first installment of the film, A Quiet Place released in 2018, was a genius take on the alien invasion story which has been explored dozens, if not hundreds, of times in Hollywood. Without dropping any spoilers, the story follows a family and their struggle to survive a post-apocalyptic alien invasion. We enter the story after nearly a year of horrific death and destruction has already occurred, perpetuated by alien creatures who are sightless, but hone in and destroy anything or anyone making the slightest sound, thanks to their ultrasensitive hearing. The result is a film that was almost totally silent (the script contained a total of 25 lines of dialog for a 3-hour, 36-minute run time), driving the visuals into even sharper focus. And the intense quiet made the jump scares more intense. In short, A Quiet Place worked because it was so unique.
Now, three years later, A Quiet Place II hit theaters, once again helmed by the husband-and-wife team of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. Both star in the follow up, and Krasinski is back to assume writing and directing duties as well. This alone seemed to point to another entertaining outing, but could the elements that made A Quiet Place a standout take on a horror movie trope work twice?
I am pleased to report the answer is “yes.”
<Minor spoilers ahead>
What made AQPII work, is that it continued to bring the surprises. The story starts with a rewind to the day the aliens arrived, which fills in a lot of the backstory we wondered about in the first film. It then jumps forward to pick up the narrative somewhere close to where AQP left off, and 474 days after the events in the opening scene. Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) is on her own with two young teenagers and a newborn son, a highly problematic situation when trying to evade aliens attracted by sound. Based on a few bits of evidence, the family decides to strike out on a journey to join up with other survivors. However, with the breakdown of civilization comes the inevitable rise of human predators, creating another equally dangerous obstacle to navigate.
What was refreshing about AQPII is the emergence of unlikely heroes. In AQP, Blunt’s character transformed from small town Mom to fearsome alien-ass-kicker in defense of her children. In AQPII, we see the same character nearly at her wits end as food, shelter and even the small amount of safety she had created, start to slip away. Throughout a nail-biting 97 minutes, strength and a determination to survive and protect, arises in other surprising characters. So, though the AQP “universe” remain intact in the second film, there is a significant amount of novelty, not to mention that we finally get a really up-close look at the horror that is the alien invaders.
A Quiet Place II is still in theaters, given its success and the lack of the normal onslaught of summer releases. If you feel comfortable venturing out, this is definitely one I recommend you see on the big screen. You can also catch it at home via Amazon Prime, Vudu and Google Play Movies.