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Apocalyptic Horror

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

Aquietplace2As of today, I've temporarily exhausted all the films I'm willing to see at the cinema for the time being (unless I get a case of cabin fever and decide to see Cruella, aka The Devil Wore Dalmatian). And today's film, A Quiet Place Part II, has certainly been anticipated for a while now, having been originally slated for release just before covid-19 took over the world, everything shut down for a year and I personally got a new appreciation for the self-confidence one can get by wearing a face mask everywhere. The question is, was it worth the wait?

We open with a brief flashback to the day the aliens that are 66% ear canal and 33% teeth arrive on Earth, showing how quickly they turn up out of practically nowhere and just start ripping apart our protagonists' home town. After that, we skip forward to right after the events of the first film, as the surviving Abbotts (mother Evelyn, son Marcus, daughter Regan and newborn baby who we shall call Millstone) have to leave their now-destroyed home and find a new shelter. Armed only with a shotgun and a hearing aid attached to a guitar amplifier to create the feedback that hurts the alien monsters, they head out towards a distant fire in the hopes of finding other people. They end up finding Emmett, a former friend of the family, hiding in an abandoned steel factory after the deaths of his own family and who has mostly given up hope. When Regan sets out to find the location of a mysterious radio broadcast in the hopes of using her hearing aid to broadcast the feedback on a larger scale, Emmett goes after her and together they face not only the aliens but also that other traditional post-apocalyptic enemy - other humans. At the same time, Evelyn and Marcus have to survive when another of the aliens makes its way into the factory they're sheltering in...

So, if you remember my review of the first A Quiet Place (and if you don't, don't worry - I had to look it up too), you'll remember that one of my biggest issues with the film was that it had non-diegetic music in places, which I felt was somewhat wasting the opportunity of having a film where all the sound is entirely in-universe. Well, sadly the filmmakers aren't reading this blog, because the mood music is still in this movie - in fact, I think it's even more prominent in the sequel, with grand orchestral swells at key points during the film. I mean, it's not bad music per say, and still nowhere near the levels of orchestra abuse that other films stoop to, but... It's just a disappointment, really.

As for the aliens... they're still used pretty effectively throughout the film. Their ability to just dive into frame and onto a hapless victim out of nowhere is still an effective natural jump scare - particularly in one scene where one just comes through a hidden door like the Kool-Aid Man as imagined by HP Lovecraft. There's also not a veritable swarm of them - I think the most we see in one place is maybe three or four in the flashback at the start of the film - which really does emphasise how effective they are at hunting and killing since they've whittled down the human race so much. Of course, that does also beg the question as to how they've apparently had no resistance until now - it's the same problem as I pointed out in the first film; I cannot believe that no-one in the world's military or scientific community discovered that the aliens that are mostly ear canal are hurt by certain sounds until One Suburban Dad With One Weird Trick came along.

Oh, and it turns out that the aliens have another weakness as well: [SPOILER] they can't swim (insert Swimmer's Ear joke here). So we get a nice little isolated island community having BBQs and letting children play outside for a bit, until one of the aliens inevitably gets there and goes on a rampage and taking Djimon Honsou out of the film before he's even given the dignity of a name (also, about that... there's two scenes in this film where a black nameless character sacrifices himself for our white protagonists to survive. I'm not saying the film is being deliberately racist or anything, but... little bit awkward when you realise it). For non-alien threats, we also have a brief encounter with some leperous-looking fishbillies who have a distinct rape-y air about them, and the ever-present threat of everyone dying of tetanus before they get to broadcast the alien-killing feedback on the radio (seriously, why is no-one wearing shoes?)

Cast-wise, everyone's still pretty good, in particular Millicent Simmonds playing Regan, and Cillian Murphy as our new bearded dad-substitute. I did feel a little sorry for the actor playing Marcus, mainly because until the very end of the film he might as well have been named Useless, as he functions mainly as a prop to cause further problems for the other characters without getting to do much himself for about 90 minutes of the film's 100-minute runtime. In the end though, I have to say that A Quiet Place Part II isn't quite as good as its predecessor - it's still got the same plot holes as before, and adds in a couple more for good measure. And the mood music... sigh.

3.5 out of 5.












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