A Quiet Place 2
Who knew Jim could've advanced so far in life? In all seriousness, John Krasinski's directorial abilities have managed to singlehandedly resurrect the box-office! While in part because this movie was strategically released right as the COVID pandemic's scourge was fading throughout America, it's also because this movie was... genuinely pretty good! While I wouldn't describe it as 'horror' entirely given that usually horror movies elevate their antagonists to a new level of fear-inducing whether by not showing them or depicting them as realistic; insane humans, this was definitely a page out of thrillers such as Jurassic Park or Alien. We're allowed to see the monsters, and we already know their weaknesses and their killing capacity, the tension and fear emerges from wondering whether the Abbott Family will survive their encounters with these horrendous evils from outer space. A majority of this movie is spent in silence, and while there is more general dialogue from its predecessor, we also get a new perspective on the quite literal 'deafening' silence from Regan, the main female protagonist and daughter of the slain Lee Abbott from the first film. So, what are Quiet Place Two's strengths and weaknesses, and does it compare with the original? Let's find out!
The movie revolves around the Abbotts realizing there are other scattered human colonies out there and attempting to make contact with them. I'm assuming this is because their family home's integrity was compromised after the Death Angels descended upon it originally, though it could be to move on from the trauma of Lee and Beau's death or another reason entirely. Whatever the case, it's no longer safe at their homestead, and thus after Regan spots a flame in the distance similar to Lee's, they make an effort to reach the location as quietly as possible... for obvious reasons. Before all this however, we witness a flashback where Lee's family is enjoying a game of baseball, with a new character established through Emmett, a neighbor and friend of the Abbotts. After noticing the meteor containing the monsters careening down onto Earth however, the Abbotts and everyone else in their local community attempt to flee the oncoming apocalypse, only to quickly become alien food as the creatures descend upon the town and make mincemeat of everyone and everything in their path, providing an excruciatingly tense introduction into a world we already knew well.
Of course, Emmett subsequently returns as a major character who initially seems hesitant to accept the Abbotts in, but is soon turned over to their cause after Emily Blunt's character Evelyn reveals her newborn. Now, without spoiling the ENTIRE plot, the Abbotts are essentially split into two narratives, that being Marcus, the baby, and Evelyn remaining back at Emmet's base-camp, whilst Emmett himself and Regan end up embarking on an adventure to reach an island colony of humanity's remnants. As it turns out, these horrific monstrosities cannot swim, and therefore landmasses surrounded by bodies of water are the safest places to be. Ultimately, both narratives don't intertwine by the time this movie concludes, but both parallel each other through sheer tension alone. Every moment that passes in this movie, one could hear a pin drop in the theater. Outside of a few choice moments that are meant to elicit a pained reaction from the audience from how brutal the injuries are made to seem, the story is true to its nature. The narrative requires total silence, and the movie has to follow these rules. This makes for an unconventional and highly nail-biting scene-by-scene story arc in which we're unsure of whether or not these characters will make it through one grueling situation, let alone the entire day ahead of them. That is the sort of atmosphere a thriller movie needs to establish and keep consistent throughout the entirety of its narrative, the primal human feeling of 'fear', our instinct of fight or flight, the sheer terror of a vastly superior animal breathing down our necks as we attempt to hide from the inevitable; grisly fate that awaits us. That is the true meaning of thriller.
The monsters themselves only amplify this quality wholeheartedly. For one, the score by Marco Beltrami continues to riddle every organ of this terrorizing masterclass with suspense, and uses itself sparingly to enunciate when the audience should feel paralyzed in the same way the characters on the screen are. Combine this with a lanky design of roughened grey coloration coupled with a mushroom-esque head that reveals a miasma of winding flesh mixed with gnashing teeth ready to consume any unfortunate soul in its path, along with an armament of claws that could slice through bones, flesh, metal, and most other materials without fail, and you've designed an unstoppable beast of iconic design that makes us scurry with fear everytime it lurches onto the screen. Plus, the noises they make are so spine-chilling! The chattering of their teeth and relentless screeches as they find prey suitable for their slaughter is a trademark sound cue that will make any viewer freeze in suspense, praying for a release from the tension which the movie holds back, refusing to deliver any payoff until it deems it so, leaving the audience in these elongated; excruciating moments of bated breath.
All in all, A Quiet Place Part Two is the greatest you can get when it comes to sequels, especially for the thriller/horror franchise. Leaving you with moments of utter stress, fear, and adrenaline as you pray this family manages to emerge from their unending nightmare unscathed and able to continue forward, it's definitely one of the better movies I've seen in quite some time, and has opened my mind to the wider alien thriller genres as a whole, along with Alien. 10/10, undoubtedly, I highly recommend you check it out at once in a big-screen theater!