The first Quiet Place movie has the loudest quiet scream. This sequel from writer-director John Krasinski may lack concentration and intimate horror, but its Alien, Jurassic Park, and Jaws references are clearer.
But it’s an effective and engaging followup, with a sensational “prelude” sequence at the top of the movie, a barnstorming shocker equal to anything in AQP1, showing the panic and terror that hit planet Earth when these hideous blind beasts whose supersensitive hearing meant humans could only survive by being silent invaded. Any sound would kill.
AQP2 turns the scenario into a quest story, intercutting the nightmares of those who leave the bunker and those who stay. Images and ideas sneaked in at the start tie the two narratives together. I yelped at some jump scares.
The original film ends here. Lee (Krasinski) died, leaving behind his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), son Marcus (Noah Jupe), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and their new baby, who may scream fatally and must be calmed with oxygen.
Emmett, their old neighbour and buddy, appears. (Cillian Murphy). Intelligent and resourceful, Regan impulsively goes out in secret to find a community of souls who have found a way to live without fear, and tearful, wretched Evelyn convinces the sullen and resentful Emmett to follow her and keep her safe. The parallel plot begins when she stays with Marcus and the baby.
As always, Regan’s jeopardy gadget causes the monsters to spasm by causing her hearing aid to go into feedback, which she amplifies with a small speaker.
But this sonic shriek can’t be maintained and signals them to where the human is, so you have only a few moments to rack up your shotgun and shoot the alien between its eyes. Never long enough.
This film convincingly depicts post-post-apocalyptic conditions. In a short time, cringing, cowed humanity has developed into a colonized life form and, eventually, wild beings who silently turn on each other.
It’s a shame that Blunt doesn’t get more screen time, and I wondered whether Krasinski contemplated Battleship Potemkin-style scares for that defenceless baby. Simmonds holds her own against Murphy’s alpha-emoting presence.
It’s impossible not to perceive these disgusting critters as COVID-19 analogies and enjoy their downfall. Witnessing a vast, bold film on the large screen was fantastic.