Director John Krasinski continues his Creature Feature pre-occupations in a sequel to his clever and quite stirring film “A Quiet Place.”
The film begins in the setting of the first one as a flashback. Lee, the father (Krasinski) is getting groceries for his son Marcus’ Little League game. The small town convenience store is struck by the news of an epidemic of death in China. Outside there are noisy cheers about the game that offsets any impending global doom.
At the game, parents are beaming. Marcus (Noah Jupe) is at bat. Inexplicably, orange yellow flames suddenly shoot across the blue sky, seeming to build in intensity. A ribbon of flame appears to break apart a large cumulus cloud.
The crowd begins to panic and retreat to their cars. When suddenly, the dark spindly legged aliens appear, their faces all teeth resembling the horror-art screams of painter Francis Bacon. Impressionistically, there are scenes of Lee and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) attempting to flee in their cars and they eventually find a radio warehouse where dad sacrifices himself to the creature to save his family.
Now it is well past day 400 since the nightmare alien onslaught began. Evelyn, Marcus and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) know well to be quiet. The aliens are activated by sound, especially if it is sudden and loud.
Day in and day out, the three trudge on (with an infant) over barren lands, wrecked cars and overgrown lots. Marcus’s foot gets horribly snared in a trap. He screams and roars, understandably. Mom does her best to mute him. In a feat of pure will and acrobatics, a carnivorous alien is slain and rugged Emmett (Cillian Murphy) appears to aid them, an old friend of Evelyn’s. The five take refuge in an underground reservoir.
This film has more action sequences than the preceding chapter. While it does not have the eerie surprising feel of the first, the suspense is there, we know the characters the film manages a Saturday Matinee movie chill.
While the jump scares are formulaic and manipulative and lessen the charge of the original episode, there are scenes of people in a hectic rush coupled with shots of limitless fields and forests where no sounds are uttered. Such elements speak of our national quarantine.
There is some ambiguity to Emmett. Is he good or bad? Will he act selfishly or be paternal? The solidity of the main roles, especially the charisma of Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds as a deaf heroine are what give this sequel heart.
Suffice to say that Evelyn, Regan and Marcus are all here to battle once more and they fearlessly thrust out their alien-piercing static machines like priests handle crucifixes against demons.
The ominous click and rattle of the extraterrestrials is a call to see blockbuster movies again. Though the sinking notes of the score are not as startling here, you know who to root for and the last screech of amplifier, sounding like a dial-up modem, gives everything a “Twilight Zone” nostalgia, satisfying and comforting in the darkness.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org