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Fleeing the Nest

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Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures

MOVIE REVIEW
A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

“A Quiet Place Part II” lives in the shadow of many great sci-fi horror flicks. Its predecessor revolved around blind creatures attracted to noises, like the cave dwellers in “The Descent,” but it felt original because of its theme of family dynamics related to responsibilities and guilt. The sequel seems to have drawn various plotlines from “The Walking Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead” and “Aliens.” It works for the most part, although it also feels comparatively derivative and tangential. Trailers and ads have played up the “Walking Dead” aspect, but it’s contained within only one scene.

The new film begins with a flashback, to when the upstate New York town is sleepy and quaint. Lee (writer-director John Krasinski) picks up a few things from the store before heading to son Marcus’s (Noah Jupe) softball game. We’re introduced to Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a family friend whose kid is also playing. He learns a word in American Sign Language from Lee’s daughter, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), which will unexpectedly come in handy later on. While Marcus is at bat, fire and smoke sweep across the sky and everyone evacuates the field. After a few attacks, the film fast forwards to 400-plus days later.

Following Lee’s death in the original, his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is on the move with their newborn, Regan and Marcus. They encounter Emmett, who declines to help them. Regan soon decodes a message on the radio and sets off on her own to seek help, prompting Evelyn to implore Emmett to find her. Mr. Krasinski twice deploys this narrative device, cross-cutting the parallel attacks contemporaneously endured by the two separate groups. If he thinks this is the horror equivalent of “The Godfather Part II,” he’s sadly delusional. The idea is that something terrible might happen to children when they’re left unattended. But parenting doesn’t feel like that high of a concept this time, especially when the film frequently reaches for low-hanging jump scares. Overall, it’s effective, mercifully short and not particularly memorable.

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