Movie review: A Quiet Place Part II
A Quiet Place was such a sleeper triumph and cultural phenomenon when it was released in 2018, not even the return of writer-director John Krasinski and leading lady Emily Blunt can best it.
Not that the real-life Hollywood couple are not trying.
The problem is, it becomes very obvious in places that this sequel tries very, very hard.
Opening in cinemas here on June 17, A Quiet Place Part II is a natural victim of the post-apocalyptic zombie/alien/monster horror-thriller genre and ends up treading a very familiar and formulaic path.
It is still a nerve-shredding thrill ride of course.
There is a chaotic, adrenaline-surging flashback opening sequence that shows us how the Abbotts' small town was first invaded and attacked by the blind creatures with hypersensitive hearing - so do not be late for your screening.
Where the original movie was intimate and laser-focused on one tight-knit family living on a farm, any self-respecting second chapter has to expand the world and the scale of the story - not just in terms of the physical spaces but also the people who inhabit them.
Besides continuing to offer up a visceral sensory experience like its predecessor, A Quiet Place Part II's other intention is loud and clear: To drive the Abbotts' emotional journey forward, towards both independence and community.
Still reeling from the sudden death of husband Lee (Krasinski), single mum Evelyn (Blunt) and her children (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) are forced to go on the move, beyond the safety of their isolated, monster-proofed home and into unknown territory filled with unforeseen hazards.
Genre fans will know that any time other human survivors come into the picture, stupid mistakes, too-convenient plot devices and untold disaster become the order of the day.
We are thus introduced to family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a hardened recluse who reluctantly takes the family in to his bunker; a group of deranged, feral humans who prey on travellers; and a small colony of survivors (led by Djimon Hounsou) living a relatively normal and safe existence on a nearby island.
Krasinski has said the story was never designed to be a franchise, but A Quiet Place Part II cannot resist ending on a cliffhanger.
A third instalment is already slated for a 2023 release, but by then the weight of living up to audience expectation will have tripled and silence may not be as golden any more.
In the meantime, fans will still like the sound of A Quiet Place Part II.
MOVIE: A Quiet Place Part II
STARRING: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, John Krasinski
WRITER-DIRECTOR: John Krasinski
THE SKINNY: Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Blunt, Simmonds and Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realise that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.