The Screams are Silent but the tension is truly terrifying in A Quiet Place 2
Emily Blunt returns to quietly lead her family across humanities dangerous, abandoned wastelands in the survival horror film A Quiet Place 2. This is a sequel to the 2018 surprise horror hit ‘A Quiet Place ‘. It’s directed by John Krasinski and sees Emily and most of the original cast return with new addition Cillian Murphy.
For those who never saw the original, like me, the film begins with a flashback to the start of events and does an excellent job of catching us up and giving us a good idea of who the characters are and their personalities. On day one, alien creatures crash land on earth and set about killing and destroying all humans in sight. The creatures appear blind and hunt purely by sound.
Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt) and her husband Lee (John Krasinski) have two children, their young son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and older daughter Regan (Millicent Simmons). Regan is deaf which means the family are well versed in sign language and nonverbal communication. That is mostly what you need to know going into this sequel so it’s a decent summary to have.
A Quiet Place 2 begins 474 days after the initial invasion. The level of devastation in the world is what you would expect following over a year of hiding/living underground. Humans of course have contributed to this destruction by turning on each other and its unclear how many human beings are left alive. Those that have survived are living very isolated existences. I use the phrase ‘living ‘very loosely as there is very little living or hope going on here, just survival.
RELATED: See the Official Trailer for a Quiet Place 2 here
I went into this film expecting to be slightly disappointed as even though I enjoy the genre, I am rarely scared by horror films. A Quiet Place 2 is my first film back in the cinemas in 2021 following the easing of the UK lockdown rules so I was also observing and very aware of the reactions around me. I can safely say people experienced some genuine scares during this film. There were also some really good ‘jump scares’ which managed to take even me by surprise.
The creatures in A Quiet Place 2 are revealed in the first 15minutes of the film which meant despite their high quality (yet also somewhat generic) design, we always knew what was coming. The best part of horror films are sometimes not knowing what’s coming after you next. The most terrifying creature is revealed quite early on so in that way, it lost a little bit for me as a horror film.
Where it excels and works a lot better with the creatures is as a survival film. As someone who has little to no practical survival skills (No Map reading, device repair, hunting food, starting a fire, creating shelter) none. So, the idea I’d have to survive and keep my family alive while also avoiding creatures who are intent on killing us absolutely terrified me and thus made me love this film!
Emily Blunt gives a great performance as the strong but vulnerable matriarch just trying to keep her family alive. Cillian Murphy gives an understated but equally solid performance as the family friend turned recluse Emmett. Having suffered his own loses, he is unwilling to get involved and is also dealing with some survivors’ guilt. Despite the adults being excellent, I was most surprised by the children. Both Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds are fantastic in their roles. Noah is constantly terrified but working all the time to deal with his fear.
Having an actress like Millicent who is deaf actually playing a deaf person may seem obvious now, but it wasn’t always done that way in Hollywood. The results of this kind of casting are so much clearer, her performance just feels right. Her character is deaf but that wasn’t the total sum of her. She is strong, smart, and brave like her father with skills essential to the whole family’s survival.
A Quiet Place 2 is a film about being understated and quiet as any noise could get you killed. This means the sound design had to be very accurate as everything we heard was relevant. The music and sound perfectly complimented the action scenes and the ‘sounds of silence’ worked really well. We don’t get much background info on the aliens/more monsters (I’m not sure if more was given in the first film). They are convincingly terrifying with decent design and are menacing enough every time they are on screen without seeming invincible.
The Survival aspects were fantastic. The sense of desperation reached right out of the screen but never felt completely hopeless. We are by nature a loud species so having to exist in silence where every footstep could mean life or death was a great plot point. We are occasionally given Millicent’s sonic perspective, and the tension created when a monster is approaching which you can’t hear is fantastic.
If I had to be fussy, I’d say I found the idea a young baby would go through some of those scenarios without screaming down every room quite unbelievable. Also, I didn’t appreciate how a particular well known actor’s character was treated. Felt almost pointless having him involved (If I’m correct, his character didn’t even get given a name). But that is me being difficult
A Quiet Place 2 is a tense, nail bitingly brilliant slice of survival horror. I watched it on a big cinema screen which is how Director John Krasinski says it was meant to be experienced for full emersion, together with a room of strangers. Would it have felt the same way at home on my phone or laptop? I doubt it. But from the experience I had, I’d say A Quiet Place 2 is an excellent film and a perfect way to rejoin the communal cinematic experience