A Quiet Place: Part II follows where the original film leaves off, as a now-widow (Emily Blunt) tries to find shelter for her and her three children following the destruction of their home and loss of her husband at the clawed hands of the vicious, sound-driven aliens we became familiar with in the first film. After coming across a familiar face, a battle between the what's right and self-preservation begins.
A Quiet Place: Part II Review
A Quiet Place left us with somewhere to go following the highly-acclaimed original film. I was a personal fan of the first film and was excited for this much-anticipated sequel. The delays managed to lower my fervor a bit, but I was still quick to jump into a theater seat opening night. As far as sequels go, this one ranks as a standard, yet successful take. It carries some apparent flaws, but it focuses on the character elements of the first film that made it stand out.
That attention to character development does come with some inherent flaws, often flirting with Walking Dead-like tropes, but it stays centered on the family well enough that such familiarity at least keeps you connected. The "humans are the real monsters" trope is thankfully limited in its exploration, at least by the means of runtime consumption, allowing the film to veer just outside of unoriginality. As far as unique elements, the film teeters between a gutter ball and curving back in for a decent pickup. The overall plot structure did offer some opportunity to break this dangerous game, but it inexplicably ignored it.
As the trailer hints (so I feel comfortable "spoiling" this slightly), the film starts as a prequel of sorts. It explores the first few hours of the "invasion", allowing us to reconnect with the family before death strikes. This part of the film feels like it will have a greater impact later on, but instead it is used merely as the effective springboard it is. If perhaps more flashbacks of these initial moments of chaos and instinctive survival had been sprinkled in throughout the film, we could have had more poignant and meaningful moments later in the film. As Krasinski's father character helped create such strong emotional ties in the final moments of the first film, these flashbacks could have been used to retain that quality throughout while still pushing the plot forward. Instead, we were dealt a good, but oft-predictable hand of post-apocalyptic moral lessons.
Once we reach the present time, it feels disjointed and awkward considering where the first film leaves off. Where we feel like our suffering family has finally grabbed the upper hand and is about to go on the offensive, they start the sequel timid and on their heels. It wasn't the best position to start in as it felt like a lazy dismissal of the first film, on par with the "love interest from the first film divorces the protagonist in the second film to kick off the action". It didn't feel like a natural progression at all.
The film remains in a safe space from a story progression perspective for a majority of the remaining runtime. The addition of Cillian Murphy's character is expected, but welcomed. He offers the most development in his moral dilemmas, as the established character dynamics of the family are limited in the branches in which they can take. But despite the wrinkle in morality lessons Murphy provides, it is all inevitably predictable and transparent from the beginning.
Gone are the days of films like Aliens that managed to take the original film and morph it into something special that still properly respected the original. Now, it is often an utter disconnect from the original or a safe, familiar progression. Part II chose to play it safe. But, it did execute safe effectively, and many who enjoyed the original film will find plenty to like here. Those that joined the "tearing the plot holes of A Quiet Place's world building to shreds" mob will not find solace here, unless they hoped for more fuel to add to their torches.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 6/10