By Jason Delgado
Warning: this review contains light spoilers.
Oh how I’ve missed going to the movies: the smell of popcorn in the air, the state of the art sound systems, the crisp larger than life images, and most importantly the shared collective experience of being engrossed together in the darkness with strangers, over a tale that captures our imaginations. I can recall an infamous story that one of my teachers told our film history class, about a French film in 1896 called L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, that featured a life-like shot of a train coming towards the audience. The myth goes that It was so realistic that the first film audiences freaked out, running and screaming out of the theater to escape. I can only imagine if they had seen a film like A Quiet Place 2.
A Quiet Place 2 is a non-stop, suspense-filled, horror thrill ride (movie tag-line pun intended because it aptly applies to this film) that builds on and even surpasses the foundation of suspenseful terror that the first movie laid down. The opening sequence is a harrowing flashback of a glimpse into the origins of how the world was forever changed in this film franchise, when Venom-like creatures with elongated and sharp appendages became the dominant species on Earth, hunting down anything and everything that makes a sound. Writer, director and actor John Krasinski (The Office) found lightning in a bottle when he came up with the unique approach to sound utilized in the franchise (every noise is amplified, and we the audience sometimes hear the quiet perspective of a young deaf child, much like the recent, captivating Oscar-nominated film Sound of Metal).
At the screening I attended, the audience was filled, save for socially distant open seats in-between everyone, and you could literally hear a pin drop. The shared anxiety over thrills and chills was a beautiful thing to experience, and something that I didn’t even realize I missed so much until I was in the moment. The credit goes to Krasinski and his outstanding cast, featuring his real life wife Emily Blunt (The Edge of Tomorrow), as Evelyn Abbott, the rock of a family on the run, and their strong movie kids, Millicent Simmonds as Regan, and Noah Jupe as Marcus. The kids are given much responsibility in the film, and as actors, and they deliver.
The heart of A Quiet Place 2 centers on the Abbott family, with an adorable baby in tow, but the new element of versatile actor Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight) as Emmett, a broken shell of a man who is cynical of the new world and takes on a major role along with the Abbott family, adds another layer that the first film was lacking. What depths would you go to in order to protect your family in a situation like this? After experiencing the pandemic, this kind of dystopian scenario doesn’t seem as far-fetched as when the first A Quiet Place came out.
We’ve been sitting at home, yearning for this kind of shared experience, so it’s a blast when A Quiet Place 2 actually delivers the goods from all of the built up suspense in the movie and in life. There’s one particularly invigorating sequence, when three separate tense storylines are masterfully intercut together to ratchet up the thrill factor even more. Bravo Mr. Krasinski.
As of this writing, A Quiet Place 2 is on pace for a gigantic opening weekend in excess of $50 million over four days at the box office. The film is providing a much needed escape, as well as a huge shot in the arm to an industry that badly needed it.
I give A Quiet Place 2 five out of five hot sauce packets. It’s so hot that you better run to see it as if your mouth were on fire.