When A Quiet Place of the American actor, writer and director John Krasinski premiered back in 2018, not only did it take locals and strangers by surprise, it also made critics and the box office – this rarely happens – agree that it was not another fool movie more of “alien invasions”, but, rather, a classic of its kind. A contemporary classic, I mean.
Nothing less than a post-apocalyptic horror and science fiction story about a family facing a bleak future where humanity would have been displaced to the bottom of the food chain after strange creatures from another world, apparently blind, but with a predatory instinct based on sound, they will invade the Earth until they border the few survivors to a resounding silence. To an overflowing silence.
And hence the greatness of the film. The true grace that turned Krasinski’s film into more than just a potato plot.
A Quiet Place It became a high-impact cinematographic experience as it led us to experience the dimension of fear firsthand, no longer based on strident or annoying sounds screamers —Something widely used today in commercial horror tapes — and instead, it made us understand the greatness of silence — even far beyond music and noise — within a film production.
You can also read: A Quiet Place, the experience of a silent horror
Or in other words: it made us go back, almost by obligation, to the time when silent films were capable of instilling fear beyond imagination. To remember why the hell Nosferatu (1922) by FW Murnau o The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) by Robert Wiene had become fundamental pieces of the genre since its premiere … but now, in an era where “noise” has become an indispensable element to terrorize the audience.
Krasinski risked everything and won everything equally. It had conquered the box office and generated, within the cinemas themselves, the magic of confusing the real with the fictional, introducing us to its own universe.
Because people didn’t even dare to speak for fear of making noise. Not a measly sneeze or a sip of soda. Silence won much more than screamers that time and went on to become, in a whipping way, a whole chair in the field. A chair that, of course, many films would try to emulate in their own way.
Like decaf and boring The Silence (2019) by John R. Leonetti about a family fleeing an invasion of mysterious winged beings guided by noise. OR Bird Box (2018) by Susanne Bier with John Malkovich and Sandra Bullock, only that instead of “silence” as the main premise within a science fiction plot about beings from another planet, it was the need to cover your eyes that would prevent the humanity will come to extinction. But none like the Krasinski tape.
Maybe you are interested in: Bird Box. Or the theory of “justified B series”
Well then dear padawans! Three years after its premiere and with overwhelming success, the second part comes to us. A sequel that, unlike many others, was necessary because everyone was crying out for a little more. More answers, more history, more silence. So it was. A Quiet Place Part II premiered in cinemas this 2021, after a huge delay due to the pandemic, it arises from the need to answer big questions that arose from the first part.
Like, for example, where did the creatures come from? How did the invasion start? Or more importantly: what would be the fate of our unfortunate protagonists after that exciting ending?
The possibilities were so rich that Krasinki could both lead us to a prequel that tried to explain the origin of everything that we could not see, as of course to a sequel that continued the events of the first installment.
However, A Quiet Place Part II It seems that he has not wanted to disappoint anyone and that is why he has tried to be a hybrid of both things, that solves the mysteries and the plot gaps, but also, that does not leave us stunned waiting for what comes next.
A hybrid, of course, that works and does it wonderfully, but that, in my personal opinion – I repeat: clearly personal – I would have preferred a thousand times to focus in one direction.
We’ll see. Don’t get me wrong either. I loved this movie. However, the story that its director tries to tell us is not a big deal either. It is practically a survival film like the first, with the same family, the occasional new face, and a lot of situations that, although they may be somewhat predictable and even recycled, generate enough argumentative tension to make it a worthy sequel.
But you know what they say: the courteous does not take away the brave. I have to admit that the first 15 minutes, sporadically and almost subjectively narrating the origin and invasion of the creatures, I found the most stupendous thing about the film by far. It is so epic. So scary. So superbly well done. What I would have given because this sequel was actually a prequel!
There was so much interesting material in the boot, with all those flashbacks Sudden, truly exciting, that once we return to the present, all “apocalyptic magic is lost.” And for what? Well I’ll tell you what for! To continue with the same silent journey as always. Where the mother, this time alone, deals with the survival of her children. And where showing events from the past are only excuses to sneak in a new character as a substitute for the one played by John Krasinski himself.
In addition, of course, a “new destiny” will be embodied as a narrative, where all our characters must flee, but in a quite particular way. Through an already very effective resource.
I may be the only film critic to say this, but … do you remember that epic denouement of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) where the Fellowship of the Ring unexpectedly separates after certain events —such as Boromir’s death— to tell us right at the start of its sequel, The Two Towers (2002), two or more adventures in a single movie?
Well, albeit in a less elaborate and somewhat disappointing way, A Quiet Place Part II it accomplishes this same task. The family that we had seen so much united in the first part, full of courage and survival instinct, against a whole world that had apparently gone to hell, is separated in this sequel to direct our attention to two different plots. Although yes, one more interesting than the other.
On the one hand, we have the character of Regan Abbot – played by the very talented young actress Millicent Simmonds – embarks with an old acquaintance of the family named Emmet – none other than the new in the cast, Cillian Murphy, from the film 28 Days Later (2002) – to a sort of refuge away from civilization after he deciphered some strange coordinates of a radio transmission.
While the boys’ mother, Evelyn Abbot – again, Emily Blunt at her maximum power – along with little Marcus – Noah Jupe – wait in one place, due to the complicated situation of their situation, waiting for these come back.
That’s when A Quiet Place Part II it becomes quite… “irregular”. While the journey of the former tends to offer us a series of most entertaining events, ranging from encounters with unwanted lunatic survivors to confrontations with the nightmare creatures themselves, which holds for the latter, although not so bad, it is not that relevant to the plot, either.
The lack of a balance, be it of emotion and adventure between these two plot lines, is the main problem that I see in the whole movie. In fact, it even makes me think that John Krasinski didn’t know what the hell to do with all these characters reunited and, to avoid problems, he came up with the old trusty one among the scriptwriters: separate them.
Then, the matter of a “utopian refuge” where the characters have to arrive because there is nothing more interesting or revealing to tell in this universe, although it serves as a narrative trigger for any apocalyptic story and for having, it does not end up being a burden so justified. There is nothing transcendent when you get there.
Excuse me for being so picky about it, but being an almost declared lover of the first installment, it is inevitable to feel that this second one runs out of ideas at times. With no intention of discrediting his universe, far from it. But it further reinforces the thesis that the exciting and purely relevant elements —those that really needed to be told— were not found after what we saw in the first part but much earlier… in a possible prequel.
But I understand the reasons. I understand that Krasinski, like everyone else involved, has opted for the old saying that “less is more.” And generate “suspense” through ignorance. Of not knowing and barely knowing. Of not being part of the origin but of the consequences. That the monsters are just the excuses for the true purpose of the film. The old resource of George A. Romero with his zombies or Ridley Scott with his aliens – or at least in the first part where we did not know about the Engineers.
But, as the franchise goes, with this successful sequel that, like the first, has already conquered the critics and the box office, eventually it will have to delve much more into the details. And the idea of telling everything that we did not see will undoubtedly be the key to making this universe richer and more interesting. Although it already works by itself, it can improve.
Instead, the only thing we have left is a clearly entertaining movie. Really functional. Or even palomera I would say. That he does not fall as much as the sequels sometimes do, but without being able to overcome his first. NOT SHITTING. The strength of the film lies in its powerful performances, in the magnificent CGI effects that have been enhanced since then and of course, in its interesting maneuvers to generate suspense.
The worst thing we can run into in this sequel? His lack of determination not to be so daring as to tell us enough, to not pretend that one can go further without losing the mystery or emotion depending on the mastery of his writers.
And the best? Millicent Simmonds without a doubt. A promising young actress who manages to make a strong and interesting character. That the film is stolen and that it recovers the best moments to frame on the wall.
But even more important: to continue proving that silence, far from all strident sounds that make the audience jump from their seats, from all accursed screamer cheap taken off the internet to “generate fear”; it is much more effective and even interesting when you have a good story on your hands. Or at least much more effective than any tape in the universe of The Conjuring.
Because that is A Quiet Place Part II dear padawans. Back to silent horror!
“The Abbott family now faces the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sandy path. “