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A Quiet Place Part II (15, 100 minutes)
Sequels so often turn out to be a disappointment because studios can roughly predict the box office on a follow up no matter how rubbish it is. So screenplay takes a back seat to regurgitating old jokes or throwing in a couple of huge explosions.
The exceptions are the films that expand the narrative and move the story forward – something even The Matrix franchise was unable to do adequately.
John Krasinsky’s 2018 directorial and screenwriting debut was a triumph in subtlety, a strange thing indeed for an invasion movie where the aliens are nothing more than blind killers reacting to the slightest sound.
Part II, the release of which had to be delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, carries on from where the original ended. Krasinsky killed his own character, Lee Abbott, off (although he appears in flashback) so you know from the outset that no one is safe. This film, however, is certainly in safe hands.
This is so much more than a monster movie
Krasinsky has shown himself to be a talented screenwriter and instinctive director.
Abbott’s widow (played by real wife Emily Blunt) and children, including a newborn, face a fight for survival in a world where anything but total silence can result in a very swift and gruesome death.
The film is structured like a Nirvana song – quiet, loud, quiet, loud. The quiet is very quiet, building up suspense to the point that the sound is as likely to make you jump as the visuals.
The cinematography is so well done that there is no need for graphic blood and gore (Eli Roth take note). Shock value is paramount but without neglecting performance or character development.
Anything with Blunt or Cillian Murphy in it is a pretty safe bet (he’s chief Peaky Blinder Tommy Shelby after all) but it’s young Millicent Simmonds who really excels here as Regan Abbott, the deaf teenage daughter who has discovered a weakness in the invaders’ armour – ironically it’s high frequency sound.
The biggest threat to blind killer aliens is a deaf girl’s hearing aid.
It’s a pity her brother isn’t as switched on as she is. He has one job to do and very nearly screws it up with catastrophic consequences.
With a Part III looking inevitable one can only hope that the standards are maintained.
As follow ups go, this is a cracker.