A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place Part II ★★★

Halfway through A Quiet Place Part II my wife turned to me and said, “They are really borrowing heavily from Lost, aren’t they?” At that point I had been wondering why the movie wasn’t fully working for me; something felt off about it I couldn’t articulate.

As soon as those whispered words came out, I looked to see if any Demogorgans or Smoke Monsters were primed to strike us in our theater seats.

The connections between Lost and A Quiet Place II are there if you are looking. We have our central figures who are afraid of a strange monster. There are “Others” who are possibly savage and unredeemable. A civilized community exists outside the uncivilized madness. There’s a curious radio signal that our survivors have to find that may hold the key to their salvation. We even have a hatch that has to be reset every once in a while to keep people safe and alive. It made the movie awfully comical once my wife saw the link between the two.

Perhaps that was just the inside joke nature of comparing one of my favorite TV series to this wildly popular movie franchise that already has a dubious relationship with borrowing from other sources. Regardless, A Quiet Place II is an effective thriller, just like its predecessor. John Krasinski has crafted an well-oiled thrill machine in this continuation of the Abbott family’s struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world over-run by sound-sensitive savage alien creatures.

This time around, we open on Day 1 of the alien invasion as the monsters fall from the sky and attack the Abbott’s hometown on an otherwise idyllic Saturday spent watching little league games. From there we pick up right where the first film left off. Lee (Krasinski) is dead, and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) has to find a new place to provide protection for her kids. They wind up finding a run down factory about a day away where family friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), has holed up. He is reluctant to help them, but Evelyn’s appeals to his better nature, and a plan hatched by Regan (Millicent Simmons)—the Abbott’s deaf daughter—bring him on board. Emmett joins Regan on a quest to find the origin of a radio signal playing “Beyond the Sea” around the clock. Meanwhile, Evelyn stays behind with the other kids to keep them safe from the monsters zeroing in on them.

Like part one of what is certain to be a trilogy, this movie does have some rocks in its brain. The scenes involving Evelyn’s son, Marcus (Noah Jupe) often seem like padding and lead to inexplicable moments like him abandoning his baby sibling to go exploring the factory for reasons that are never clear. There is also the film’s relationship with its Black characters, who seem to be the only ones who actually die on screen. There is also the issues of the “Others,” those ne’er-do-well humans that Emmett doesn’t believe are actually worth saving. While their presence expands this world, it also draws very clear lines of morality without offering any perspective as to why or how they turned so savage. Perhaps the third movie in this franchise will give us more.

I reckon that a deeper reading of this movie is sort of besides the point. It is a centrist conservative movie about the power of family to overcome all dangers, and the inner courage we must find to face our fears. As we begin to emerge from this pandemic, these are values one cannot particularly argue with. And while A Quiet Place is no where near as nuanced or complex as Lost (with its six seasons of televised brilliance), we can’t lose sight that it has connected with lots of people in much the same way.