Review – Silence Is Still Golden (“A Quiet Place II”)

The monster hit of 2018, A Quiet Place won over critics with its simple tale of a family trying to stay alive from rampaging alien creatures that hunt by sound. John Krasinski is back again, serving as screenwriter & director for a second time. Will lightning strike twice for him again?

After a quick horrifying flashback to how it all began, we pick up with what’s left of the Abbott family from the last movie (see review below). Shattered wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her newborn baby, her congenitally deaf teen daughter Regan (IRL deaf Millicent Simmonds), and teen son, Marcus (Noah Jupe). They still use ASL for communication, even though Regan can speak a little. After their house and barn are destroyed, they set out for a signal fire in the distance. More people and some hope, possibly? Unfortunately, all they find is a strung-out old friend named Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who is living alone in an abandoned steel factory after a creature killed his wife & son.

While listening to their radio, Marcus hears a song playing and Regan deduces that it’s an invitation to a nearby island. Marcus doesn’t agree and Regan decides to set out on her own to find out. Yeah, that’s not a good idea, kiddo! Evelyn sends reluctant Emmett after her and, while he’s going after the Quest for Fire Regan, Evelyn strikes out on her own to the old pharmacy in town to get supplies. Meanwhile, Marcus pulls a major boner and alerts an alien creature to his whereabouts, not only jeopardizing his safety, but his newborn baby brother as well! Dumb kid.

And if he weren’t missing a few brain cells, after Emmet discovers a boat that can take them to the island, does he go back and get the others? NOPE! He continues on with Regan for some misadventures of their own! WTH??!! Anyway, the two separate stories run parallel from late in act two and into the finale, with the action and tension ratcheting up moment by moment as those nasty killing alien lizard-thingys are about to wipe out our heroes. . . again. Part two, as good as it tries to be, suffers from sequelitis; it’s not as awesome as the original. I’ll give Krasinski major points for his superb direction and being able to edit for maximum suspenseful impact. He’s got that in spades.

Another bonus are the actors, each one bringing to the table years of experience and talent which you can clearly see on the screen. Blunt shows the pains of picking up after her husband was torn apart, Jupe is frighteningly real, and Millicent is extraordinary. Murphy hits the high point as the ex-parent suffering from PTSD, but willing to give it one more try. And there’s a brief, but memorable role by Djimon Hounsou that is cool. If nothing else, this is some terrific acting being put forth by some gifted actors. My only beef is that wayward script.

Krasinski said he got an idea for a sequel some three weeks after the first movie opened and started writing, cranking out a script in just under four weeks! That’s fast! The problem is, this movie follows the same beats as the first movie, with almost nothing new, aside from a few new faces and a deus ex machina at the end, which is the writer’s folly. Not that this movie doesn’t deliver when it delivers, it’s just that the pacing is slow, the timing is a bit off, and the characters are forever doing the dumbest things at the worst times! These monsters should be killing them for just being stupid!

**Now showing only in theaters. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

I never got a chance to review the original movie, so here it is! The brainchild of actor John Krasinski, this modest $17 million produced movie made back (are you sitting down?) a whopping $340 million at the box office! And starring only a handful of actors, with the lead being the director and co-screenwriter and his IRL wife starring as his wife? Wow!

It just happened. A bunch of sightless, ruthless, killing alien creatures from outer space took out most of Earth’s human and animal population. How? They hunt by sound, are incredibly fast & lethal, and have indestructible armored skin. One of the last surviving families, the Abbott’s, are seen silently scavenging for food and supplies in what’s left of a ghost town. There’s pregnant wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), husband Lee (Krasinski), their congenitally deaf teen daughter Regan (IRL deaf Millicent Simmonds), and young sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward). They all use ASL for communication while outside.

But tragedy strikes when Beau turns on a noisy battery-powered space shuttle toy and is quickly killed by a creature, leaving Regan to feel the guilt for his death. Months later, Regan is still struggling with guilt, Evelyn is entering the final stages of pregnancy, and Lee is still trying to make radio contact with the outside world. Meanwhile, Lee attempts to upgrade Regan’s cochlear implant to restore her hearing, but it’s not working. Well, at least taking Marcus to a nearby waterfall to teach him how to fish is good, as the loud sounds there mask over their voices and don’t attract creatures. Why didn’t they just live there? Beats me. But while they’re at the falls, Evelyn goes into labor. Uh-oh!

She accidentally makes some noise at home, and that signals some creatures while Lee and Marcus are on their way back. What happens next is a whirlwind of nail-biting excitement and suspense as the creatures attack, Evelyn gives birth, the children attempt to hide, and Lee tries his best to distract these vicious killing machines from devouring his family. It’s all done with such jarring direction and crazy near-deaths, you barely have a chance to breathe. Finally in the end, Evelyn and Regan are in the basement, ready to be a quick snack for an extraterrestrial lizard-thingy, when Regan gets her ear implant to generate feedback using her dad’s radio, causing the creature (who relies on hearing alone) to go crazy. Evelyn then grabs the nearby 12-gauge shotgun and KABOOM!

Krasinski directed, starred, and co-wrote this magnificent spine-tingling horror/sci-fi tale along with Bryan Woods & Scott Beck (Impulse, Nightlight). Although it may seem like your A-typical Saturday morning SyFy movie with alien creatures attacking the Earth, this one is a cut above with rarely showing the aliens, a damn fine cast, and skilled direction that draws the suspense so tight, you have a constant feeling of dread throughout the movie. Some say that Krasinski was nuts to cast his IRL wife, Emily Blunt, as his wife in the film, but as it turned out, it was a brilliant move. Blunt is SO incredible here, conveying both utter terror and motherly compassion at the same time.

And it was also brilliant to hire Millicent Simmonds, an IRL hearing-impaired actress, as his hearing-impaired daughter. You just can’t beat authenticity in casting, now can you? I suspect that if Krasinski could have gotten REAL space aliens to be in the movie, he would have found them too!

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