Oxygen Deprivation

The standard in apocalypse cinema is to appear hopeless and cynical. Humanity turns into roving packs of primal killers, fighting for scarce resources, thinking only for themselves. In directly following A Quiet Place, the sequel chooses a more inspired direction, based on a generation growing up with greater empathy than their parents.

It’s daring, placing the pressure on Regan (Millicent Simmonds), venturing out to do right despite her inability to hear. Some will inevitably take this as ridiculous – the deaf teenager stepping into a world where the slightest sound kills people. Yet, A Quiet Place II’s backbone is that of the original. Regan grew up around a compassionate father. In his absence, no matter the risk to herself, she becomes a protector, and not just of those in her familial circle. These kids grew in bravery over their parents, and the same is true of Marcus (Noah Jupe) who spends A Quiet Place II injured.

A Quiet Place II performs as sequels should

A Quiet Place II separates the kids, obviously in the case of their now dead father, but also from their mother (Emily Blunt) whose own instincts compel her to help her son. The new addition to the cast, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), begins as a blue collar isolationist, the cliché survivalist unwilling to help others. What seems as a harsher replacement for Krasinski’s character turns into a different arc all together, further cementing this intelligently composed generational tale.

All of A Quiet Place’s tension transfers over, if not more so. It’s a gutsier production, given greater budgetary leeway for marvelously done long takes, sensational creature assaults, and suitably silent stressors. A Quiet Place II performs as sequels should too, broadening the lore and expanding on what was a closed-off world.

In this current (if still small) monster movie boom, where genre films anchor to camp or assume no one takes these stories seriously, A Quiet Place II rebukes those dismissive norms. It’s gruesome, fearful, and willing to place kids in grueling scenarios. Given Lee’s (Krasinki) death in A Quiet Place, it’s clear the series can and will off key players. There’s no guarantee the key characters or stars will survive, further tightening the inherent fear. Given the focus on an already developed family, these people matter more than the usual fodder for human-eating critters. Being hopeful about the situation, at this point in time and against cinema’s norms, means a script that says the kids will be alright.

Video

Graded with a deep, heavy warmth, the summer-like visual environment adds an amber glow to the visual space. Flesh tones steer toward unnaturally bold hues, if not in a distracting or unattractive way. Primaries, like greens filling the overgrown weeds, likewise take on the excess digital heft.

Primarily a film-based production, Paramount’s disc resolves a natural grain structure with few problems. While noisier scenes do happen (chroma noise an issue in spots too), compression holds out overall, keeping the look organic and transparent to the source. This means plentiful detail from the 4K finish, some softer cinematography choices aside. Texture swells even in medium shots even as the film stock spikes in grain structure intensity.

Spending time underground, black levels drop to crushing depth, but appropriately so considering the circumstances. Lit only by candles, shadows eat some detail to set the visual tone. Compared to the Blu-ray, this Dolby Vision offering boasts obviously wider dynamics even at a glance. Highlights take on spectacular brightness, both ends of the spectrum accounted for and bolstered to impressive peaks.

Audio

For a movie designed around staying quiet, the Atmos track doesn’t seem to care. It’s beastly. Bass adds ridiculously deep, powerful jolts when creatures attack or guns fire. This is the type that rattles walls and given enough volume, can easily knock something off a shelf. Quiet Place II becomes a dominating, forceful test for any subwoofer.

Mixing utilizes the soundstage just as well, executed with precision as monsters jump around or roar. Subtle elements like water dripping or a crowd at a baseball game in the beginning beautifully use each speaker flawlessly. Positional touches consider a soft breeze, blowing dried leaves through the rears to ensure any alien-triggering sound is audible, increasing tension. Quiet Place II makes a great case study on what sound can add to a movie when in the proper theater environment.

Extras

John Krasinski’s diary runs nine minutes, beginning as a promo but does settle into behind-the-scenes footage. A brief four minute EPK explains the story approach. Simmonds’ role and performance take the spotlight in a six-minute bonus. For five-minutes, the closing marina sequence is explored. For a closer, a great look into the visual effects and sound design over eight minutes.

A Quiet Place Part II
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A smart approach to storytelling keeps A Quiet Place II focused on family, then pushing greater action and tension on top of it.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: