An age-old adage, too much of a good thing does, indeed, hurt. A Quiet Place Part II tries to add detail to where it was never needed and never known. Director John Krasinski defies the ambiguity of the first feature and tries to implement ideas, backstory and links to the past for the Abbott family. They are now a member short, and while this gives Krasinski the chance to disappear behind the camera, his presence in flashbacks alone is a reasonable sacrifice. He is not quite ready to depart the screen but wishes to utilise his artistic endeavours as a focus on the technical merits he has to offer. He hasn’t much here, but where A Quiet Place Part II falters is more in its story and style than its direction.
A Quiet Place Part II wastes no time at all in getting itself ready for the madness that ensues. A baseball game, a family day out, ruptured by the rapture. Krasinski directs that well enough, but it feels like poor hindsight. How powerful this could have been if it were the opening of the first. That is not to say that A Quiet Place had a weak opening. To enter us deep into the apocalypse, rather than at its start, is a fresh change of pace for the genre. But doubling back and looking at the past is a sad waste of time. Lee Abbott (Krasinski) clocks on rather immediately to the idea and notion that these monsters are sound-oriented. His plot armour is thin, though, and a quick cut back to the present brings us up to speed.
It feels more like a retcon without the removal. Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt are the big-name draws for this barren wasteland, and while they are serviceable in their aims, the means of their work leave much to be desired. Blunt is exceptional, of course, as are Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, but there is little here that feels all that different from the first. We are still enamoured by strong performances, despite the limiting and underwhelming material. There are still moments of panic and desperation, playing out with little sound or, in this case, substance too. Krasinski may have had something with his first A Quiet Place outing, but the charm of such a unique element is not something that can be repeated.
Recapturing the lightning in a bottle effect is an improbability that Krasinski deals with more because he is not sure what else he can do with these characters, rather than having anything else for them to say or do. It is reassuring, at least, to see that sub-two-hour films are still on the mind of the mainstream, but when they have little, if anything, to say, then we must question the point of it. Plotholes and loopholes with a lack of quality to the writing are the main issues, but at least it is not absent of thrills and chills. Not quite as explorative or engaging as the first, but few sequels are. Who’d have thought the cure for killing aliens in Mars Attacks! would be the salvation of Krasinski’s humanity.