‘A Quiet Place: Part II:’ Horror masterpiece evolves into creature feature (4K Ultra HD film review)
WASHINGTON — It’s here. And home video fans are ready for it. We’re talking about “A Quiet Place: Part II” (Paramount Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 97 minutes, $34.99). This 4K Ultra HD edition of the sequel to director John Krasinski’s blockbuster sci-fi survival horror film now moves to home theaters. And it packs more of an up-close extraterrestrial punch than ever.
“A Quiet Place,” the sequel: The harrowing extended plot continues
As the new film begins, we first get a harrowing glimpse back to the first day of the harrowing alien invasion covered in Part I. The story then picks up on day 474 as the now-familiar blind, ferocious creatures, continue their attack. Relying on their acute hearing abilities, they continue to hunt and exterminate the human race.
As the film progresses into the present, the plight of Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) now becomes considerably more desperate. Now widowed and with a newborn in tow, she escapes her burning and compromised home compound. Her deaf daughter Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) fearfully tag along.
The group meets old friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), now a grieving recluse. They beg him to give them sanctuary in his abandoned steel mill fortress.
But Regan is intent on helping to save the human race in addition to her own family. She proposes to do this by using a technology she recently discovered. That involves repurposing the high-frequency feedback from her hearing aid. This has proved effective in disorienting and debilitating the menacing creatures long enough to kill them.
She gets help from Emmett, and the pair go an adventure to find a working radio tower mysteriously playing the song “Beyond the Sea.” Meanwhile, her remaining family persists in trying to survive.
Pluses and minuses in Part II
This sequel to “A Quiet Place” does not prove as nail-biting as the original effort. But its still packed with heart-stopping moments. Better yet, we have a chance to admire those creepy creatures that scared us all the first time around. In other words, “A Quiet Place: Part II” doesn’t disappoint.
Unfortunately, hardcore horror aficionados will find a couple of dunderheaded choices made by the characters (what were Marcus and Evelyn thinking?) frustrating at best. These gaffes ultimately hurt this film’s narrative of hope and resilience.
The UHD transfer culled from a 4K master format shines quickly. Examples: The initial visual of a stalking creature backlit by the sun hovering near a barred window. Or glimpsing the rusty and dusty elements and general atmosphere of Emmett’s home.
Another plus: The creatures are much more present and livelier in this film. Viewers can now examine their very cool anatomy. That’s especially true when the camera hones in to detail their retracting head flaps that resemble opening flower petals. Or when we watch their noggins get shattered to the rawest of extraterrestrial meat by a shotgun blast.
The sound. Or the lack thereof…
And was true in the previous film, the sound or lack thereof in the soundtrack appropriately takes precedence in this film. It creates and enhances the overriding feeling of terror. Which, of course, is the point of its initially enigmatic title: “A Quiet Place.” We quickly learn that even the sound of a twig snapping or the sliding of a medicine bottle could spell a character’s doom. It’s ultimately a riveting aural experience, supplemented by a powerfully, uniquely effective orchestral score.
Best “A Quiet Place” extras:
The included Blu-ray version of the film contains five featurettes with 35-minutes of behind-the-scenes content.
Best of the bunch is the director offering 9-minutes of on-set commentary detailing four key locations. The other segments cover the production’s origins, the key marina scene and the heroic motivations and emotional growth of Regan. An added plus: An overview of the creature’s visual effects and the critical sound design effort.
The featurettes also include a few words from the director, production designer Jess Gonchor, visual effect supervisor Scott Farrar, compositing supervisor Chris Balog and cinematographer Polly Morgan, just to name a few. Ditto some informative comments from the film’s primary cast members.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.