Even though nature is healing and the world is gradually returning to normal, we all find ourselves trying to piece life back together again and discover the positive after coping through a year of negativity. Hope is a word that could be used to describe the one thing humanity has clung to for the past year – hoping that things would get better, hoping that we would see our families again, hoping that one day the world might feel normal again. John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place II seems to take its influence from the aspects of humanity that have been shown over the last year, allowing the film to develop from a standard horror film built for scares to something that focuses more on relationships, and having hope in humanity can be the saving grace when fighting against unstoppable monsters.
A Quiet Place was hailed for its dedication to sound, or the lack of, in order to create an atmosphere that truly heightened the viewer’s experience and allowed them to understand the importance of sense. The monsters in the first movie were attracted by sound, and therefore had plunged the survivors of the apocalypse into a silenced world, one where even a sneeze could lead to a brutal death. This concept, although not entirely original (Hush, Don’t Breathe), captured the audience’s attention and led to critical acclaim. Perhaps the film should have been left where it was, with an ending that saw Emily Blunt’s character Evelyn, staring down the camera holding a shotgun. This ending did make it clear from the outset that there would be a second film, however, it could have been enough to leave it where it was and horror fans would have been graced by a stand alone film that would be talked about for years to come.
Instead A Quiet Place II came around with the promise of bringing the same atmosphere but with more badass babes, shotgun shells and gnarly monsters. In the second instalment we follow Evelyn, Regan and Marcus and the months old baby as they continue to navigate the world without their protector in husband and father Lee. With supplies perished and the baby’s oxygen tanks running low, the family make their way to search for other survivors with the hope of starting new in any sense of the word. The film acts as both a prequel and a sequel, giving the audience the opportunity to learn what happened on the day the monsters arrived. By utilising this dual element, the film provides the audience with the backstory for Cillian Murphy’s character Emmett, who happened to be a friend of Lee’s and present on the fateful day.
Going into A Quiet Place II there are certain expectations surrounding the silence of the film and how the sound design will build the key fright elements of the film, which although is utilised in places, isn’t used as frequently or intelligently as in the first film. There are times throughout when the audience are plunged into complete silence in order to experience the moment alongside Regan, which gives a unique perspective to the viewer as we suddenly begin to realise just how frightening it would be to not have the ability to hear what is happening around you, something that could potentially be the cause of death. Fortunately the film actually uses silence to Regan’s advantage; rather than it being a disadvantage against the monsters, with her knowledge of sound and frequencies, she creates something that can destroy the creatures and help humanity to fight against the nightmare that has completely ravaged their world.
The biggest pulling point of the entire film is it’s focus on the relationships between characters, and how putting your trust in other people can turn out for the better. Time and time again in horror movies, particularly ones that focus on ‘end of the world’ situations, they portray the world as full of evil humans that want to rape, steal, harm, deprave and destroy anything and anyone that doesn’t ladder up to their selfish wants. A Quiet Place II felt like it was going down that route when introducing Emmett to the audience; he mentions that people in the world cannot be trusted and are not worth saving. But the film doesn’t go down the route of deceit and malicious intent, instead it flips that trope on its head and focuses on portraying the humanity that can be found within the majority of people. Nearly every character in the film has the interests of others in their hearts, which feels more comforting to watch – in some ways it strips back the horror element of the film, and does dilute the fear within the film, but that’s okay. More than often, horror fans go to horror to be frightened, distressed or frustrated but A Quiet Place II opted to provide a glimmer of hope for the audience, and by the end it has fully fulfilled our belief in humanity which is something slightly different but it feels positive to watch.
It’s rare that sequels pack the same punch as their predecessor, and unfortunately for A Quiet Place II that statement stands true. However, it’s filled with tension throughout, it has explosive action-filled scenes, the monster design looks fantastic and the underlying message of hope gives us a more uplifting outlook by the end of the film.