- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 26, 2021

The sequel to director John Krasinski’s blockbuster sci-fi survival horror film moves to home theaters packing more of an up-close extraterrestrial punch in A Quiet Place: Part II (Paramount Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 97 minutes, $34.99).

After viewers first get a harrowing glimpse back to the first day of the alien invasion, the story picks up on day 474 as the blind, ferocious creatures, that rely on their acute hearing, continue to hunt and exterminate the human race.

The plight of Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) gets more desperate as now widowed and with a newborn, she escapes her burning and compromised home compound with deaf daughter Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) and son Marcus (Noah Jupe).

The group meets old friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), now a grieving recluse, and begs him to give them sanctuary in his abandoned steel mill fortress.

However, Regan is insistent about helping to save the human race by using a technology she recently discovered, the high-frequency feedback from her hearing aid, that has proven to disorient and debilitate the 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” while her remaining family continues to try and survive.

Not as nail-biting as the original but still packed with heart-stopping moments — and, better yet, a chance to admire the creepy creatures — “A Quiet Place: Part II” won’t disappoint.

Unfortunately, hardcore horror aficionados will find a couple of dunderheaded choices made by the characters (what was Marcus and Evelyn thinking?) ultimately hurting this story of hope and resilience.

The UHD transfer culled from a 4K master format shines quickly when viewing an initial visual of a stalking creature backlit by the sun hovering near a bar window as well as the rusty and dusty elements and atmosphere of Emmett’s home.

However, the creatures are much more present and livelier in this film. Viewers can now examine their very cool anatomy especially honing into their retracting head flaps (like opening flower petals) and watch their noggins get shattered to the rawest of extraterrestrial meat by a shotgun blast.

And as with the last film, the sound and lack of sound takes precedence to create the terror, where even the sound of a twig snapping or sliding of a medicine bottle could spell a character’s doom.

It’s a riveting aural experience supplemented by a powerful orchestral score.

Best 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 in four locations including the Buffalo New York, steel mill a small town in, Akron, New York.

The other segments cover the production’s origins, the key marina scene, the heroic motivations and emotional growth of Regan and an overview of the creature’s visual effects and the critical sound design.

The featurettes include words from the director, production designer Jess Gonchor, visual effect supervisor Scott Farrar, compositing supervisor Chris Balog, cinematographer Polly Morgan, to name a few, and all of the primary cast.   

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