A Quiet Place Part II
When I saw A Quiet Place in theaters, I was utterly shocked how good it was. It remains one of my favorite horror films, and when the sequel was announced, I was nervous. Could the sequel live up to the incredible reputation of the original, or will it blemish it? After watching it, I can happily say that I can't imagine watching the first one without immediately watching this one right after it. It not only continues the gripping story of the first, but it keeps up its incredible quality.
There is an expression in theater called "Chekhov's gun," and it's an expression that reminds the storyteller that they need to make every element of their story necessary. A Quiet Place Part II masters this. The first film also incorporated this philosophy, but the second one learned to fully embrace it every step of the way. Every line, every prop, every set design, and every environment serves a purpose. Even little things that I didn't notice at first came back in a huge way later on. I kept shouting in my head "Brilliant!" over and over again. What I admire so much about the original flick is that it's an incredibly smart movie. This one rivals it, though there is an element that may make people still gravitate towards the first one more. This feels bigger. There are more locations and has a bit of a journey. For obvious reasons from the previous film, this makes sense; the family needs to move on to find a new home. However, the solitary farmland of the first made the movie feel more personal and slightly more scary, due to the steady and calmness of the family's lifestyle going so horribly wrong. Here though, there's not a functioning homelife to feel safe and make the scary moments more impactful. With the family on the move, we come to expect something terrifying is around every corner, and the tension is always there, losing a little luster in the process as we get used to the uneasy feeling. Again, I think the story and clever use of its elements is done wonderfully, but it loses its scare factor ever so slightly. It's still an impactful and emotionally gripping tale full of terrors and triumphs.
John Krasinski returns to the directing chair, and his directing skills are really impressive. Who would have known Jim from The Office would have been an amazing horror director? But my goodness, he absolutely can deliver a fantastic movie. There is an incredible one shot that was just outstanding, and the way things are strategically shot that subtly helps you remember small details that play an important part later on is great craftsmanship. I was also impressed with the editing. This is probably one of the more finer examples on how to implement multiple story arcs into a movie. There’s a moment where three events at three very different locations happen simultaneously, and though jumping between different happenings isn’t anything new, I found myself rather impressed with the execution this time around. Just about any action movie has some kind of interlocking chain of events that the audience jumps back and forth in their viewing. Take for instance Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (It was the first movie that popped into my head at the moment, and I don’t know why. Oh well, it works.): at the end, we see Anakin Skywalker fly his way to the droid command ship, while the Jedi get tangled up fending off a Sith, and meanwhile, Padme is retaking the palace. Again, a lot of movies do this, but in A Quiet Place Part II, I feel like every cut to another location is more strategic and purposeful than most movies. There’s just something about it that makes it a breath of fresh air. It’s different, but it feels natural and fluid. That’s just one example of how well this motion picture was edited together. The duology of these movies are absolutely great subjects to study when it comes to the artistic craft of the industry.
The actors also are well versed in their craft. The kids were really impressive considering how young they are, and Millicent Simmonds, once again, is a major highlight. Being deaf in real life adds so much authenticity to the character, and I’m sure some of her reactions to people not being able to communicate with her was reflective of real-world interactions, adding realism to her scenes. She and her fellow actors made the horror of their predicaments feel real as well. I got lost in the movie a few times, hoping the people won't get hurt, even though I know full well it's all fake, but that's how good the performances were--they helped transport me into their world. From old faces to new survivors, the cast did a stellar job at bringing to life their terrifying world.
Sequels often leave viewers either disappointed or, in a few instances, shocked to find themselves claiming the original is inferior. This is a unique case because the quality remains steady from the previous installment, resulting in a movie that fans of the first film will enjoy. For me, I don't think I'll be able to watch A Quiet Place without jumping right into Part II from now; it's an incredible duology that might as well be watched back-to-back as a single, epic masterpiece.
Leave a Reply.