‘Quiet Place 2’ is the first film to see in theaters since Covid-19
This time it’s very noisy at first.
It’s slamming doors, the roaring engine of a pickup truck, the TV news and a neighborhood baseball game. Soon the noise of everyday life is replaced by cries of panic, prayers, car horns and the thunder of shotguns. It’s the apocalypse.
A Quiet Place, Part II, which opens on May 28, has a different introduction than the memorably silent debut of its 2018 predecessor.
Maybe that’s because the same stuff from three years ago doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Director John Krasinski seems to know it, so he cranks up the volume during the prologue to his alien killer / god sequel.
Now there is more sound and more dialogue. Krasinski is not lazy with his rules: like his characters, A Quiet Place, Part II looks outward to new land, away from the comforts of home.
According to Box Office Mojo, 74 films have been released (some are re-releases) in theaters this year. A Quiet Place, Part II is the first to see in theaters.
A Quiet Place, Part II is full of artistic intention and technical prowess, but what makes it unique is the timing: the sequel was pulled from theaters a few days before its release on March 18, 2020. It’s kind of a time capsule, made more powerful after a year of our own quiet place.
Although the sequel was written, shot, and completed before the pandemic, its somber tone and apocalyptic setting resonates even louder today, long after the disease that leaped to humans from animals shut down the planet.
A quiet place II boasts a pretty solid story about solidarity in the face of danger that offers a hugely satisfying continuation of the imaginative concept of the first film – a concept that might have been unique had it not been so successful.
This post-apocalyptic world expands just enough to reveal new threats and allies, without revealing anything more about monsters – beyond a new weakness.
It’s hard to call A Quiet Place, Part II a wise, but intelligent film. 90 minutes skinny, Part II is made up of tightly constructed playing pieces that weaponize the medium’s many tools to increase tension. (A little recurring involving oxygen depletion is a pretty inexpensive way to leave an audience, uh, breathless.) Actor Djimon Hounsou, who exudes gravity onscreen, finds himself in a thankless role, and so on. is one of the film’s more bewildering choices – but there are still plenty worth it here.
It’s a extremely satisfactory result from the imaginative concept of the first film.
After seeing the sequel I can say A Quiet Place, Part II avoids the pitfalls of other surprise successes that generate franchises. It’s one of the most uncomfortably tense films of the year, choking the viewer until they let the air of mercy pass through. We are wrong in thinking that Covid-19 is completely over, but A Quiet Place, Part II offers a little catharsis, perhaps the most memorable occasion in a long time.
Aside from its prologue which offers clues as to how it all happened, A Quiet Place, Part II resumes a few moments after the end of the first. With their home destroyed, the surviving Abbot family – mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (Noah Jupe), and an unnamed newborn – brave the outside world, hoping to find a new house. They soon find Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a friend of the Abbots and the only survivor of his own family.
True towards Part IIIn the nature of the next step, Emmett has nothing to do with Krasinski Lee’s benevolent patriarch, who returns as a ghostly memory in the prologue. Unlike Lee, Emmett is cynical and distant. Without his family, he is ready to die. And then the abbots intervene. He struggles to converse with the deaf Regan and refuses to cooperate with what he believes is a foolish plan: to find other survivors after encountering an active radio signal. (A loop of “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin that will trigger flashbacks for everything Bioshock Fans.)
This couple – an endlessly gazing Murphy and an increasingly promising Simmonds – are a surrogate pseudo-father relationship that embodies Part IIthe biggest ideas. Or A quiet place was about the family, Part II concerns the community. While a family can have its own set of conflicts, a community in apocalypse is more critical and full of more unknown quantities. Trust is in high demand but still insufficient.
Apocalyptic successes like Lost, The walking dead, and Leftovers all have undermined this tension. Despite being a movie in its own right, A Quiet Place, Part II is a smaller meditation on these same difficulties.
Or A quiet place concerned the family, Part II is about community.
Perhaps a year ago these themes appeared unnecessary. But now it looks like a blaring siren. After Part II was delayed last year, the world was tasked with cooperating to overcome the pandemic, a challenge that we have unquestionably failed to overcome.
(It’s especially odd when you remember that Krasinski himself saw an opportunity with a high-spirited, low-fi ‘news’ show made from his Brooklyn living room. He then sold Some good news at Viacom. As of May 2021, there are no plans to go ahead with a fully produced news show on Krasinski.)
A Quiet Place, Part II fortunately is not about diseases or vaccines. But it is absolutely a warning about the delicacy of our comfort when we arrogantly believe that we have escaped danger.
This message is much more powerful than a year ago.
A Quiet Place, Part II evolves beyond the concept of its predecessor to develop twists that make it a worthy trip back to cinema.
The mythology of monsters is not where the Quiet place franchise excels. This is never on monsters. It’s about us. And that’s where A Quiet Place, Part II is the strongest.
A Quiet Place, Part II opens in theaters May 28.