Synopsis: Family tries to survive an alien invasion. (Streaming on Amazon Prime and Paramount+)
The family in A Quiet Place Part II have the same version of the Before Times as us. But what a different catastrophe befalls them…
The movie begins with an ominous caption of Day One. We see people gathered together at a small town’s baseball field where a youth game is being played. Younger sibs frolic on nearby playground equipment while adults chat. The Abbott family is there to watch son Marcus (Noah Jupe) play, with dad Lee (John Krasinski as an un-Jim from The Office-like sensitive, serious, non-smirky man) catching up with Emmett (Cillian Murphy–watch out bc this acting powerhouse has never been in a cheery movie) while wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt, Mary effing Poppins herself, a long way from The Devil Wears Prada) pushes her younger son in a swing and daughter Regan (a stellar Millicent Simmonds) conversates with her dad in American Sign Language.
Suddenly, there is a boom and fiery debris streaks across the sky. Everyone starts rushing to their cars. What follows is terrifying, as aliens literally fall to Earth. They are really bad visitors and immediately start butchering everyone in sight — or sound, rather. If you’ve seen A Quiet Place (2018) you’ll know that these outsize, mighty insect-looking aliens hunt by sound. They seem to be constantly ravenous and angry like dieting Karens.
Boom! Aliens land on vehicles. Crash! Aliens smash through storefront windows. It all happens super fast and the Abbotts have to run, drive and hide for their lives. One baller scene shows Evelyn/Emily B. doing some horrified, yet skillful driving backwards at great speed, dodging a bus and leaping aliens. I mean she has a Volvo thank goodness, but they are not alien-proof!
Kudos to director Kraz because the opening is like an award-worthy short film with its nearly pastoral scenes of communality followed by intense, heart-juddering action. All this happens before the movie title even appears. Phew! Difficult conditions under which to eat popcorn.
Onto Day 474…
You won’t see anymore of Kraz’ character because of events of A Quiet Place. You’ll miss him, but he stayed busy anyway, directing this flick starring his IRL wife, Emily Blunt. She leads a fine ensemble cast who spend their days trooping through rural areas near Buffalo, New York. This is not a San Andreas-type of action flick though, so you won’t see shots of the aliens trashing the Buffalo Bills football stadium or sloshing down Niagara Falls. Instead we get more intimate scenes of forested hills and abandoned old train stations where brush and grasses have overtaken the train tracks. Oh, yikes, and note to teen Regan: Don’t Go Into Any Rail Cars.
Evelyn/Emily B. leads her family away from their farmhouse in search of other survivors. She has a rifle and Regan carries a boom box on which she blasts alien-disabling frequencies that drive them back like club music at a prayer meeting. Or, conversely, sing-songy sermons at a dance club.
There is a new little troublemaker in the family: a baby. Cue the Wahhhs! Everyone else follows the Be Quiet rule, but baby won’t cooperate. Sometimes they put baby in a sound-proof “bassinet” that is really a box. Sad!
Here, and in the first movie, the family members take care to walk barefoot so as to be as quiet as possible. That’s all fine and well til you step on a nail. Their feet are a mess too, dirty and bloody. They could all benefit from a podiatrist. Or sneakers. Expect for baby who insists on being carried everywhere, twiddling their buttery soft toes about.
The most resourceful of the kids is Regan who is smart and full of physical and psychological stamina. Her younger brother Marcus is a bit of a dud. He’s always managing to hurt himself and then, of course, he screams like he’s been dropped in boiling oil. Thus advertising himself & his family’s existence to every alien within five hundred miles. He also never stays put when his mom or sister insist that it is essential that he not move. They leave and two minutes later he starts exploring, blundering around until he sees something dreadful, then his eyes get big as saucers and he screams bloody murder and has to be rescued yet again.
Fortunately his mom is up to the task– she has such steely resolve. But sometimes matriarch Evelyn gets really stressed out and then actor Emily Blunt uses her signature face-quivering, eyes-pooling-with-tears look. You can be sure that Kraz gets some closeups then.
Early on in their perilous trek they come upon a derelict steel mill where they encounter an old acquaintance, Emmett. He was a nice guy with a family. Uh, was. Now he’s gone nearly mad with loss and fear. But he’s not so crazy that he goes barefoot; he wears durable, soft-soled boots.
And he really doesn’t want to help the Abbott family. (Btw, I don’t know why American characters always have such WASPy names. I wish Kraz had given a shout-out to his Polish heritage and named them the Wojciechowskis.)
But then… Evelyn/Emily B. fixes him with her tremulous teary look and gestures to the baby. I mean how does he expect them to safely proceed with Little Mx Wah-wah Goo-goo?!
The rest of A Quiet Place 2 is sectioned into three rotating stories…
1) Emily has to go out and get first aid supplies from the wrecked pharmacy because the boy has (yet again!) had another dorky mishap. I mean, I guess the drug store is on the honor system in case any possible survivor needs something, but the family’s chance of death goes up like 1000% whenever they trudge to the now ghost town. So maybe take a few extra bottles of pain killer so they don’t have to pour whatever liquor is around on the boy’s latest wound.
2) Regan decides to hike to the coast where she believes she can find survivors and pass along their alien-fighting knowledge. Remember Regan, don’t enter the train car.
3) Marcus is charged with babysitting. What could go wrong with Marcus Screwup-lius in charge?
And maybe Emmett/Cillian Murphy will be brave enough to help someone in the Abbott/ Wojciechowski family.
It was eerie watching QP2 while COVID makes its way around the globe and through the Greek alphabet with its variants (Delta, Mu…). It put me in mind of the current masking wars. I can easily imagine others in this alternative cine-world refusing to stay quiet to save lives from aliens: It is my right to not stay quiet and risk as many lives as freedom demands! It is my right to be as loud as—-!!!!!!!!! (eaten by alien).
P.S. You won’t need to see A Quiet Place before QP2, but it helps to explain things. And that’s where all the characters are fleshed out.
Movie Loon Movie Review Shortcut:
Cut to the Chase: See A Quiet Place first because that’s where all the character development is, but this one is just as suspenseful as the first.
Humor Highlight: Whenever Marcus’ eyes start shifting around, you know he’s deciding to do something stupid.