When you really need to be safe and hiding from monsters, perhaps leave the cryptic clues for another time?

A QUIET PLACE: PART II

Directed by: John Krasinski

Written by: John Krasinski, based on characters created by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods

Featuring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, John Krasinski,
Djimon Hounsou

Following on from the traumatic events depicted in A Quiet Place Evelyn Abbot is now alone, grieving her husband and having three children, one a baby, in her care. Still with no place to hide, despite discovering the weakness of the alien creatures, Abby and her remaining family must leave the farm they called home as it burned down. They venture deep into the countryside always at danger from the creatures but also from the remaining humans. Will they find a safe-haven to live or is it all in vain?

In the first film we were thrown straight into the middle of the monster invasion, no real explanation, just a few clues and hints. For a story of this style that works, you do not want your audience to start thinking too hard about the situation and how it came about, because in the world of ‘The Quiet Place’ it collapses like wet cardboard. Instead get us into the problems and terrifying situation our protagonists are in. Plot holes and logic defying situations can easily be lost as the viewer gets excited and frightened by the set-up. With Part II we see the start and then jet forward to 474 days later and things start to unravel almost from the first minute.

It is a shame because the potential for expanding the situation or even trying to explain how it came about leaves the creators with limitless opportunities. From my point of view, they were mainly missed and wasted.

Krasinski plays a great everyman like Tom Cruise does and the opening set up catches our attention and interest. Even if the time that the ‘meteor’ crashing to Earth and first creature attack is preposterously short you will go along for the exciting ride. I am not sure how the unfortunate town’s folk realised that noise was the motivating factor for the monsters and my biggest bugbear which really itched me from the opening minutes was ‘what was their purpose?’ After all the long-legged creatures seem to seek out sound and then kill the thing making the sound. It is clear from many scenes and set ups that they do not eat them, so what do they do? Kill people and move on. Eventually they’ll be few people to kill pointlessly so will they not just get bored? This is the first huge logic-hole that you fall down, even if you are only partial paying attention and disappointingly there are many more.

The set-up, cinematography, scenery and CGI are all good and show that thought and money has gone into the project. The weakness is the structure and story of the film. It does not move on from the first film, resorts to a few well-warn cliches and really does have some huge gaps in noticeable logic.

The beleaguered heroes fighting against baddies or monsters or going into a haunted house and then immediately making their core weak by splitting up for no reason is so ‘pat’ and such a poor plot-device that is has been done to death as a comic trope on TV, films, books and sketches around the world. Yet, here in 2021 with season-actors and writers at the helm what do our heroes do? Yup split up into groups making them weaker and more susceptible to attack, capture and a horrible death. Therein lies the rub, this ‘device’ is cynically written to get more jump scares, more quiet, quiet, quiet, loud noises moments more screaming, more dreary seen-it-all before moments.

Everybody takes stupid and unnecessary risks that give them no advantage or benefit but thrust them into immediate danger.

Millicent Simmonds the fine young deaf actor, who has some great scenes shown from her point of view, despite the obvious and noble attempt by the makers to show her as resourceful and intelligent as anyone else, (more so than most which must be applauded), decides on the most stupid course of action. To leave her family to find the ‘island’ she has figured survivors are on by listening to a Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Shore. Whatever way you look at it she is deaf, so she does not know how much noise she is really making as she explores, and she cannot hear the clicking monsters or any noises they make if they are behind her. She just would not last on her own and being intelligent and resourceful she would know that. It is a massive logic hole and it is hard to climb out of it once you fall in.

Emily Blunt, not really give too much to get her acting teeth into here, despite being the main point of interest, and the wife of the director and writer, even more stupidly leaves her son, who is pointedly shown as being panicky and scared of everything, alone with her baby. A baby which must be hidden in a box with an oxygen mask if monsters are around all so she can go on an utterly pointless pilgrimage to her other son’s ‘grave’ marker. He was killed in the first movie. It is so stupid and silly it was at this point my expectations and joy dropped through the floor.

Cillian Murphy is only here to replace John Krasinski who was stupidly killed off in the first story when they presumably thought it was going to be a one-off film. He is a background character at the beginning, so it is obvious he is going to roll up with a meatier part later. There is a semi redemption theme to his storyline that was a bit weak and could have made an interesting and we sort of get hints about the death of his children and wife but it is wishy-washy and poorly written/editted.

As in all US end of the world films we also get the obligatory rapist-cannibal-murderers, it really does not say much for US writers opinions of their fellow citizens when every story involving a breakdown of society involving a mass-death event, the survivors are in general selfish psychopaths. To be honest if you are selfish and murder everyone you meet you will not last very long – history has proved this, not story writers.

The end of the film is frankly crap and is clearly hoping for a Part III. Critics like the film, I think it made money, so we will probably get tyre-dump fire called Part III in the next few years.

A Quiet Place: Part II is well filmed, looks good and the sense of desolation is realised in the scenery and locations. The acting ranges from very good to adequate and overall if you do not mind thinking about anything whilst you are watching and like monsters and being scared you will enjoy it.

The Film Cricket in the meantime could not help thinking about all the interesting things that could have been addressed. What was the purpose of the monsters? This could have been explored, because much like Sylvester Stallone’s directions to Michael Caine they are just ‘evil’, that’s it, evil. There could have been more time dedicated to how this affected the survivors, it was hinted in a very small way late in the film by Murphy’s character but this was really a plot device to show how a creature got to the island, albeit in an unlikely manner. It could have explored how resourceful survivors organised and fought back, but no, we went down the pyschos and isolated community route that hundreds of storywriters have gone down before.

A Quiet Place: Part II was disappointing for me, not only that but the longer it went on the more I saw it as a cynical jump-scare, money-grab. I am no genius but this film was logic-defyingly inane.

As a footnote instead of playing cryptic Bobby Darrin records to attract survivors why not just broadcast a loop tape of where you are and the information about how the monsters cannot swim and drown so people can get to the nearest island to be safe?

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