A Quiet Place was certainly one of my favourite movies of the year it came out. A clever twist on the alien invasion movie, with a focus on a single family rather than mankind’s fight against an overwhelming threat. It gave the movie a lot of heart, with a stand out performance from Emily Blunt. This sequel again focus’s on Blunt, whilst also exploring how the invasion began.
The ticking time bomb concept of a pregnant Blunt and the prospect of a baby (that cries) was what helped build much of the nerve-shredding tension of the first movie. This unfortunately feels devoid of much of that tension other than the having to keep silent aspect. Thankfully this at least lead to some effective sequences (including one hell of a jump scare early on) and along with the movie’s excellent use of sound (and silence) I still found myself on edge. However, apart from a couple of plot developments, overall this failed to build on what was learnt in the first movie, leading to an ending that sets up a third entry where everything I hoped for in this instalment will likely be left for that movie. Frustrating.
Thankfully the cast is decent. Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy steals the show from main star Blunt (who bizarrely doesn’t get to do much), and along with Millicent Simmonds as the deaf daughter, prove to be the main draw of this sequel. Creature design is also freaky but lacks variety, and we don’t really learn much new about them. Direction throughout is tense and quite atmospheric, and overall I enjoyed this enough … but couldn’t shake the feeling it was simply more of the same, yet not as good.
I really liked Cloverfield, one of those hand-held shaky cam movies that are like marmite to some people … it was a tense, thrilling take on ye-old alien invasion plot and the prospect of a sequel although not something I expected, certainly appealed. Then I was to learn that this movie bares very little resemblance or connection to that movie other than the word Cloverfield. So I suppose I went into this not really knowing what to expect.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) plays a woman seemingly running out on her boyfriend, but on route to wherever, is involved in a car crash – and soon wakes up in an underground bunker under the watchful eye of John Goodman’s ‘Howard’. Howard’s a bit creepy though and fears she’s been kidnapped come immediately to mind until he starts saying the world has become contaminated and some sort of incident has occurred on the surface.
I liked this set up. Claustrophobic, with just these characters for company. Helped then that we get some strong performances, especially Goodman who drifts unnervingly between creepy, likeable and psychotic, leaving this viewer constantly trying to figure out his agenda. Winstead is also very good and rather resourceful as a woman who clearly knows how to make the best of a bad situation. However the movie stumbles a little in it’s characterisation … it deliberately vague about who these characters are which proves frustrating, especially as with Goodman you never know what to believe. Also where the movie ends up going is particularly predictable even if the final scene proves quite thrilling.
Overall I had a good time with this. It threw in some surprises (especially a bit involving a barrel), I enjoyed watching things play out and the tension was pretty thick at times. I still have no clue what’s the significance of the word Cloverfield is though.
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