I was a fan of the original A Quiet Place.
It was an old-style horror flick with a great twist. You had to be quiet. Absolutely quiet. Or some terrifying otherworldly creature would attack you and rip you to shreds.
It was a great premise that evolved into a first-rate script that eventually featured a perfectly chosen cast.
And it was a major career breakout for the writer/director John Krasinski who demonstrated that he had all the cinematic devices required to scare your pants off.
Not surprisingly, it was a huge success. Also, not surprisingly, there soon were plans to make a sequel in order to rake in even more money.
Hollywood does that a lot. It’s a logical idea, but one that doesn’t always pan out, as we’ve seen so many times before.
What follows is usually a hastily produced cash grab that only tarnishes the sparkling success of the original.
Happily, that is not the case with the second installment of A Quiet Place.
It had a very strong post pandemic open at the box office, adjusting for an industry only beginning to recover from having the wind knocked out of it in a way that no one could have ever imagined.
True to the style and tone of the original film, A Quiet Place Part II doesn’t stray much from the tried-and-true elements that made it so popular with audiences.
Though Krasinski’s character is savagely and shockingly killed in the climax of the first film, his wife (played brilliantly by Krasinski’s real-life wife, Emily Blunt) and their three children are still alive, struggling to survive.
This time around, the focus of the story shifts to the two kids played once again by two very capable and talented actors, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.
And, of course, there is the baby, born as silently as a baby can be born, in the first installment.
t’s a pretty amazing baby who almost never cries, seems to never require baby formula or diapers and is content to sleep and be hauled around in a soundproofed basket rigged up to a canister of oxygen.
It’s a stretch. But the beauty of this film, and the original, is that it somehow seems borderline plausible, just enough to escape close scrutiny in a movie that moves you along too quickly to stop and think.
And it works, at least until you leave the theater and have time to think about it on the drive home.
It’s only then that you start to analyze and question what you’ve just seen and enjoyed.
So many questions: like how is it possible that the power grid is still working and supplying electricity in a chaotic world in which aliens are grabbing and eating everyone in their path including power plant employees.
I have to admit here that this little detail has escaped attention in many other science fiction movies in which the lone survivor of the human race somehow enjoys the comforts of uninterrupted electrical power. Or running water. Things that seem to just work all by themselves.
Food and water seem to be available here. No one looks like they are starving or suffering from dehydration.
The local ransacked pharmacy is thankfully still the source of unexpired medication and undamaged tanks of medical oxygen. Ammunition is still somehow available.
Again, A Quiet Place Part II walks a tightrope, getting away with a lot of things that don’t survive closer attention.
Movies like this count on the fact that we’re screaming too loudly of too much to notice, and admittedly, for the most part, it works here.
The part that didn’t work was the intelligence and resourcefulness of the two kids, particularly the hearing-impaired adolescent daughter who has both the insight and resolve to do what the adult characters in the move either can’t or won’t.
And that involves a dangerous journey to save mankind. I won’t give away the details. That wouldn’t be fair.
But I will say that it involves a level of technical knowledge and ability that seems preposterous for someone her age. Let audiences decide. The box office revenue would suggest that no one really seems to care.
Implausibility here seems to be overshadowed by some good old school surprises and shocks and sustained, heightened suspense.
It deserves credit for all that. A Quiet Place Part II is an entertaining sci-fi/horror film. It is a worthy successor to the original film. Maybe not a perfect film, but one that does what it sets out to do.
And part of that journey is to use all the cinematic smoke and mirrors in the book to distract you from the all the things that would make it seem completely farfetched. Sci-fi/horror is a tricky genre. Navigating it successfully and intelligently is difficult, at best.
It requires some talented people sitting at the word processor, sitting in the director’s chair and delivering their lines and hitting their marks in front of the camera.
When all that happens as it does here, silence takes on a whole new significance and the tiniest sound within that silent world can become utterly terrifying.
A Quiet Place: Part II is in theaters now.
Photo Credits: Jonny Cournoyer. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved