“A Quiet Place: Part II” opens with a prequel scene. We witness the Day 1 events leading-up to the initial alien attack on the rural Northeastern town that kicked-off “A Quiet Place”. John Krasinski’s Lee Abbott, wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their three children come face to face, for the first time, with those monsters who aren’t very fond of noise.
This turns out to be most intense sequence of “Part II”, which then immediately flashes-forward to Day 474, right where “Part I” left off. Another 10 minutes of solid moviemaking go by and then the momentum and impact quickly begin to fade.
The surviving Abbotts (no spoilers – in case you haven’t yet seen “Part I”) decide to leave their home in hopes of finding other citizens who are fighting the enemy. Cillian Murphy joins the cast as Emmett. He’s also a survivor, now living alone in a small bunker inside an old factory. And he’s given-up all hope. When the Abbotts arrive Emmett’s not exactly thrilled.
The original film had one monster of a story problem: Why did Evelyn and Lee have a baby under these dire circumstances? “A Quiet Place: Part II” has a half-dozen smaller script issues – but they all add up. Most are illogical moments and situations. Krasinski, who returns as screenwriter and director, asks us to simultaneously buy into this family, their real emotions and motivations AND throw logic and common sense out the window. You can’t have it both ways.
Blunt won SAG honors for Best Supporting Actress for the first movie (even though it was a lead performance). She has a legitimate supporting role this time. Her bathtub scene in the original solidified that film’s place in modern horror movie history. There’s no such showcase this time.
Instead, the focus shifts to the Abbott kids and Emmett. Millicent Simmonds, who returns as daughter Regan, is the clear lead. Noah Jupe, back as brother Marcus, also gets plenty of screen time. Even the newborn baby is a critical player in the survival drama. Krasinski should have titled this sequel: “A Quiet Place II: The Kids Are Alright”.
We do get a couple of good jolts, but three times as many “I know what’s happening next” moments. The sandbox of this “Quiet Place” universe is limited, which is a tough challenge to overcome — and the result is an underwhelming experience.
I’m mixed on the ending — but it will have people talking. Shhhhh…
LCJ GRADE: C
Running Time: 97 min.