Film Review: ‘A Quiet Place 2’ Fails To Reach The Lofty Standards Of The Original
Krasinski’s latest project is a perfect of why things should be left alone. Paramount should have been pleased with the first film bringing in 341 million and moved on. A Quiet Place came off as a fantastic horror film that was one and done. Did anyone really anticipate a sequel after seeing it in theaters? It’s hard to capture that same magic twice. While the first film came off as original, creative, and downright terrifying, the second film had this sense of obligation to it. The scares weren’t reminiscent of the original film but more in line with Jurrasic Park. The level of emotional investment in the sequel is minimal, while the original had us praying that Lee and Evelyn’s family would survive. A Quiet Place 2 is much more disheartening than terrifying.
Now, there are certain moments in the film that do stand out. The opening sequence of A Quiet Place 2 was extremely clever. Seeing how it all began on Day 1 brought back that same level of excitement from the original film. The scene takes place on a Little League field where Marcus (Noah Jupe) is playing, and we witness a fiery burst in the sky, which causes alarm amongst the spectators, which quickly scurry away. Evelyn (Emily Blunt) takes their toddler son, Beau (Dean Woodward) and to her car while Lee (Krasinski) takes Regan (Millicent Simmonds) to their truck which was parked in town.
Then suddenly, all hell breaks loose, and the monsters have arrived. In retrospect, maybe the sequel should have been one that involved flashbacks so that we had more Evelyn and Lee in it. Sadly, we don’t, and the film transitions after the first 11 minutes to day 474, and we get to see the surviving members of the Abbott family attempt to evade these creatures. The beginning of their story is really the aftermath of the previous film. Evelyn heads to their barn, which is now flooded and on fire, to get supplies. Regan has the most practical skills and is the family’s leader. She notices off in the distance a fire while standing on top of what was once her home and manages to plot a course to get there.
Their risky journey to what they later learn is an abandoned steel mill results in meeting up with neighbor Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who we briefly met during the opening sequence. He’s clearly become jaded by what has unfolded and has no desire nor room to accommodate the Abbots. However, Regan has somehow managed to track down another group of survivors and is determined to find them. At this point in the film, it becomes less about the Abbott’s and more about balancing a splintering narrative. It is this balancing act that tempers down the tension in the film. The original film was almost too focused but it didn’t matter because we were so invested in those characters.
What’s problematic is that these characters are far less defined in the sequel than in the original film. They completely gloss over the trauma characters Emmett has faced. His wife dying what seemed to be a horrific death was more of a throwaway line than a major plot point. If we are going to spend time introducing new characters to this landscape, then take some time to at least give those characters some depth. This is the danger that comes with expanding a narrative that really did not need to be. Unless the storyline is balanced well, adding more characters to a narrative often causes people to tune them all out. Again, perhaps the focus should have been on the Abbotts and their survival and not seeing who else was alive.
Making a sequel based on prior box-office success should not be the sole reason to make a film. There must be a story left to tell. The Abbott’s were the story everyone bought into. To take the focus off them for the sake of expanding a universe is foolish. Perhaps a different approach would have led to a different result. Instead, we are left with a highly underwhelming follow-up to a fantastic film. I had high hopes for A Quiet Place 2.