A Quiet Place Part II is more of the same; like the first installment it does what it says on the tin and it does it well, but its weak overplayed family story won’t satisfy those who aren’t interested in its horror trappings. This series deals with a post-apocalyptic alternate reality where you have to live in silence to avoid being killed by alien monsters. At the heart of the first film is the Abbott family dealing with the death of their youngest child to one of the aliens, it’s nothing brilliant but enough to hold that film together.
This time the family drama is much thinner
Part II begins with an obligatory flashback, which serves little purpose besides making sure director John Krasinski’s face gets to be on screen. Once that is out of the way the film directly continues on from the ending of the last film, with the family on the run. This time the family drama is much thinner. Vaguely, it seems to be dealing with the repercussions of Part I’s ending, but it never manifests into anything besides throwaway lines.
The film splits into two plot lines, one which follows journeying daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and family friend (Cillian Murphy) and another which stays with the rest of the family in a bunker. Naturally, this allows the film to expand the world and so have a much bigger scope. The locations are more varied and interesting this time, but overall still nothing to write home about. Despite this approach of ‘bigger is better’ being true for some elements of the film, refreshingly the film retains its predecessor’s lean runtime of around 90 minutes.
It is a relief that the hollow sentimental piano music all over the first film has been toned down
The first film’s reputation is built on its manipulation of sound, but for me, it’s mostly just another Spielberg imitation and Part II continues this trend. Yes, there are moments of experimentation, when the film uses silence to manufacture scares, but overall its presentation is uninteresting. For instance, the score is just bland background fodder that tells you exactly how to feel at every possible opportunity. Though it is a relief that the hollow sentimental piano music all over the first film has been toned down in Part II.
There continues to be no genuine horror in this series
There continues to be no genuine horror in this series and even less so this time as the monsters have become far too beatable. If there is a third film the monsters definitely need an upgrade. All the film does to maintain its ‘badge’ as a horror film is jump scares and generic suspenseful music. Is it too much to ask for supposed horror films to stop substituting actual terror for cheap tricks?
After all is said and done, the most important thing to know about A Quiet Place Part II is it’s fine…Nothing more, nothing less. Everything is aptly executed and there are no glaring problems, but to call it anything other than ordinary then standards must be low. It achieves what should be the expectation for all films regardless of genre. If its particular trappings, like its small town America setting or its Spielbergian style, are an individual’s sensibilities then of course its appeal will be stronger. But for me, I will probably forget it imminently.
There is no doubt, A Quiet Place Part II will find a very dedicated and passionate audience. As discussed, for what it wants to be it does its job well. Unfortunately, beyond that, it’s relatively unremarkable and this time it doesn’t earn any points for sound design innovation. For the most part, the film’s primary interest is jump scares and pedestrian suspense.
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