A Quiet Place Part 2
This three-years-in-waiting horror sequel makes you scream.
There are two kinds of film franchises:
Where the whole thing has been planned out even before getting the first frame on film
Where the creative team either planned for it to be only one movie and are now pigeonholed into coming up with some new adventure, or they decided to fly by the seat of their pants and hope inspiration would strike.
A Quiet Place Part II is the latter.
And don't just take it from me; in interviews, writer/director John Krasinski has confessed that he was not planning on a sequel to the blockbuster 2019 horror hit.
Yeah. No kidding. It shows.
To recap: in the first film, Krasinski is the father of a family that has managed through a combination of ingenuity and sheer luck to survive a mass extinction event -- giant bugs who wipe out anything that makes a sound. It was a clever spin on the horror genre, an almost-silent film, capitalizing on the paramount moment in films of this nature -- the silence right before the baddie leaps out of the shadows and kills one of the good guys. In this case, the whole movie was one giant jump scare, and you never knew when it would happen.
The sequel begins 476 days prior to the cliffhanger ending (even though the kid actors look 476 days older than we last saw them), with a pointless scene about the invasion of the alien species. We did not need to see them descend from the skies to know they were not of this world, nor did the interaction between Lee (Kransinksi) and Emmett, played by Cillian Murphy (the Irish Krasinski). at their kids' baseball game, serve the purpose it needs to. Was a scene left on the cutting room floor, in this already-short 90 minute film? It seems that the two dads had a history of not getting along together, judging by later events in the movie, but if that's the case, there was no hint of it I could see. Also, about this little baseball scene: 1) What weirdo brings a hunting knife to a baseball game to cut up fruit? B) Who eats fruit at a baseball game? C) Why is he so late to his son's baseball game? D) Why do all these questions relate to Kransinski's character, who is supposed to be the honorable, brave hero, and not some deadbeat fruit ninja dad?
The family hits the road (or white sand path, as it were) to find help, and even though one suffers a devastating injury. he/she is up and walking around soon thereafter. They eventually end up taking shelter in a decrepit factory, where an old acquaintance is holed up, having rigged the place with booby traps galore -- not for the huge bugs, but for "the other people" (I was praying it was not going to become a half-man, half-bug hybrid). This head-scratcher is later explained somewhat, but instead of making us understand things better, our fingers dig further into our skulls, creating fine furrows from all the scratching.
This factory is also home to an industrial size oven the family uses to hide from the killer creatures. It took me a while to figure out why they're always setting a timer when they cram themselves inside the claustrophobic space, but I assumed it's because that's how long you have before you're out of air to breathe. Seems like a smart place to shelter, don't it? It is clearly irrelevant to the logistics of this film that it's the same amount of time whether it's one person in it, or 4 people, including a howling baby. But breathe a sigh of relief (sorry), because you can stick a towel in the door to prevent it from locking you in permanently. Wink, wink.
Eventually, the family divides to do some things on their own; mom needs to go back to the pharmacy in town to get more pain meds for her son (which, for some reason, has plenty left in stock), and the deaf daughter (get the irony?) goes off to....do something involving Bobby Darin and a radio station on some bug-free island out of Lost. No, seriously, I would bet my left leg (you'll get the joke if you see the movie) that it was the same exact set as where The Others lived on that show (not to be confused with "the other people" mentioned above). Just like that pivotal drama series, this movie seems equally confusing, self-important, and missing seriously important details. Indeed, one might say this movie is...lost?
But getting back to the radio thing. Apparently, daughter has devised a way to use her hearing aid as a means to defeat the bugs. If this sounds familiar to you, it should: It's the same solution as the first movie, writ a bit larger. Instead of using her family's Peavey amp to blast the feedback, she uses the radio station's output to magnify the reach and power. But here's the problem with this, besides being redundant: Who listens to radio anymore? In what world, even a Hollywood one, would someone, 477 days after (or even before) a mass extinction event, either have a radio, or be listening to it at that exact moment? Oh God, don't tell me this is the idea for A Quiet Place Part III.
***END OF SPOILER***
I eagerly waited over a year to see this sequel from when it was supposed to be released last spring (and two years since the original). I had hoped it would be, if not better than the first one, at least as good as it. Instead, what I got was a writer who stole little bits here and there from other successful works (including his own!), and hoped we wouldn't notice the first-draft flaws. And perhaps you won't, if you're like the guy a few seats over from me who fell asleep (which reminds me...why doesn't anyone snore in this movie?), but unless you're blind, like the bugs are, you can't avoid but witness this silent but deadly stinker of a movie.