PG-13 for scary scary jump scares involving creatures who break the silence with loud screaming and heads that expose fleshy red parts. There's also some horrible trauma that happens to our main characters, who happen to be kids in a lot of the situations. If you want to see a kid get his foot caught in a bear trap, that happens. Oh, and it shows it too, so just prepare for some grossness. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: John Krasinski
Remember how A Quiet Place became the horror movie for all audiences? I was sitting there with my extended family --outdoors in attempt to stave off the very apocalypse we were watching --thinking that my mother-in-law is excited to watch the sequel to A Quiet Place. And there was screaming! Oh my, how there was screaming. My father-in-law regularly got up to stand outside because he knew that something was going to jump out at the characters. Of course, this made the movie all the more fun. It's why most horror movies don't really stick with me. It's the knowledge that an audience is going to share in the experience with me versus being the only one who wants to watch a scary movie.
Now I'll be honest because that's why I write all this nonsense. I don't know if A Quiet Place really needed a sequel. For a sequel, this is a pretty great movie. It gets us back into this world of silence and it is one of those rare sequels that captures the vibe of the first movie while offering new scares. But in terms of telling a new story, there's not much here. I mean, I know what story was meant to be told. In terms of adding to the greater mythos and thematic elements of A Quiet Place, the second film is (supposed to be) about mourning and finding humanity in a world that finds kindness to be a weakness. But as I'm sarcastically stressing right now, the themes of this movie are pretty superficial and weak compared to the depth that the first movie really seemed to cover.
The first film was about forgiveness, both of self and of others. Because we never really saw the monsters until the final act, the movie had to really settle with the family dynamic all throughout the film. Yeah, there was always a threat that they couldn't make any noise, but it was about how setting enhance the main storyline. A similar thing is present in zombie movies, especially stuff like Dawn of the Dead by Romero. By forcing people out of their comfort zone, they are forced to address the elephants in the room and that's what the first film really did. The introduction of Cillian Murphy's Emmett had the potential to tell a story about the road not taken. Emmett, after all, is a dark mirror for John Krasinski's Lee. They both had similar lives before this all went down and they were friends in that life. It's only when the apocalypse is thrust upon them that they take different steps. Now, there is a reason why Emmett grew cold and became a survivor at all costs. Lee had Evelyn while Emmett lost his wife. Perhaps this is too a cautionary tale for Evelyn for what she could become given that Lee is no longer there. There's some stuff there to really explore, but it all falls victim to the notion that there is a fun sci-hi action horror to be indulged in.
And that stuff really is great. Like, Krasinski is kind of the man. I mean, I may have thought that the first movie was a flash in the pan, but his scares in this one are top notch. The bus coming at them was on the next level in terms of how that scene was shot and how effective the scare was. Yeah, the monsters are creepy, but like with The Lost World: Jurassic Park, there tends to be a little bit of creature fatigue when it comes to seeing the monsters. So the fact that Krasinski decides to make the environment a scarier thing than anything else is smart. Maybe that's what the entire movie is kind of toying with. There's that trend of sensory deprivation horror that we saw with this and Bird Box that feels like nature is the monster out there. It always feels like a revenge plot for being so cavalier with how we've treated the planet. So the monsters are almost the avatar for something much larger. That's why the scariest things are the environment. The bear trap with Marcus is treating him how humans treated animals. That part is terrifying. The box with the baby (by the way, the baby is too well behaved) is the walls closing in. Marcus and the baby within the hatch is the reliance on man-made space and how that ultimately will be their doom. These are all moments where the monsters are perhaps the spark that gets the scene moving, but it is the environment that becomes the real villain.
But the movie also has one really dumb moment. I mean, this moment had us all groaning. The movie has little productive for Marcus to do. This is Evelyn's and Regan's stories, but Marcus is kind of just messing things up. There's the bear trap, sure. It's to get Marcus out of the way while providing an awesome bit of tension. Good on that. I'm impressed that he didn't scream for that long and then he wouldn't shut up. But there's a part where Marcus just puts everyone, including is baby brother (sister?) in danger because he wanted to be...helpful, I guess? Marcus is placed in charge of the baby. They are hanging out in the soundproof tube with the door open. The baby is fine. Marcus is injured. Mom gave specific instructions. Then he just decides to put the baby in the box, waste a tiny amount of oxygen that he didn't check ahead of time, and then go look out a window? I don't know what his logic was. Who did he think that he was helping? Was he aware that he didn't really have a plot in the movie so he just invented one? It's a really weird moment.
This all kind of leads Regan as a protagonist. I love Regan as the protagonist. Evelyn kind of told her warrior woman story in the first movie, giving birth in a bathtub with a nail in her foot. That is, by far, going to be the most memorable moment in the franchise, however long it goes on for. But her story is now one of support. Regan, however, is about ownership of her new role as savior. I really like the idea of it, getting the hearing aid to a radio station. But I don't know if there was enough for her to do. She gains a new father in the form of Emmett and that's fine, I guess. But it feels like there weren't enough complications. She kept getting that hearing aid back. I'm always bummed when a plan works. Yeah, there were hurdles. No denying these hurdles were scary and effective. But really, the hearing aid to the microphone was kind of blah for me as an ending. I wanted something else. I also kind of wanted something more permanent. It just seems like we're going to get a third movie and it's going to be a little bit more of the same given time. I want the movie to take a risk, not push the whole thing to status quo. It may feel like this is a step forward, but the family is in the same position that they were at the end of the last movie. They were always able to take out monsters. Now slightly more people can do the same.
So while the movie is a good time, I think there was something more that could be done. Ultimately, the first movie sold me on the idea of this concept and this is more of the same, both in good and bad ways. I would probably watch a third and a fourth movie, but I don't get the same sense of satisfaction that I did watching the first film.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.