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A Quiet Place Part II | Review

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This review is spoiler-free.

It’s not often that a film comes along and demands to be seen on the big screen, creating a cinematic experience unlike any other and that’s something the Quiet Place films definitely do. I may have learnt this the hard way, by watching the first film on a plane and not really enjoying it, only to re-watch it again at home and really like it. But now, seeing A Quiet Place Part II in an IMAX cinema, having not been in a cinema for months, it is truly a spectacular cinematic event.

After a brief flashback sequence to when the creatures first arrived, A Quiet Place Part II picks up exactly where the first film left off. If you’ve seen the first, you’ll know that it ended in a very exciting position and now we witness the Abbott family struggling to navigate and struggling to survive in the post-apocalyptic world, ravaged by monsters that hunt by sound.

AQP2 is a really tense and engaging thriller film however it never quite reaches the heights that its predecessor did. The first film managed to create a level of immense tension and sustain that pretty much the entire way through the film’s runtime. Here, it feels like there were certain scenes that were very tense and have you squirming in your seat but the bits between these scenes lack the same sense of dread and fear that the first did and in that sense the sequel is not quite as tight as the first.

At just 97 minutes long, it’s only 7 minutes longer than the first but it does feel quite a bit longer. The first film goes by in a flash and it’s over before you know it and whilst AQP2 doesn’t feel overly long, the pacing of it makes you notice the runtime that bit more than the first film.

There are a few very suspenseful and scary moments in it, particularly the opening flashback scene to the Abbott family’s first encounter with the creatures. In fact, even that pesky nail from the first film makes a small cameo here but what stands out so much and what makes it a real ‘cinema film’ is the fantastic sound design. Every single time one of the creatures is even remotely near one of the main characters or any time that the creatures just might be nearby, the sound design completely draws you into it and makes you feel like you’re there and that’s what makes these frightening moments all the more impactful.

A lot of the criticisms and faults with A Quiet Place Part II do largely come from the fact that it’s not as good as the first and it’s weaker by comparison, but it’s still a very smart and entertaining film that provides some genuine chills. The concept of creatures that hunt on sound is such a great idea and it plays out on screen so well. Every single time one of the main characters make even the slightest noise your heart stops and your hold your breath, waiting to see if the creatures are going to show up and if our heroes will meet their untimely demise.

One issue I had with the film was that you could always tell where the next scare was going to come from. The film is by no means predictable, it just sticks to some generic tropes and it’s clear where it’s going. Everyone knows in a scary situation in a horror movie you don’t split up. But that doesn’t stop our protagonists from doing so and it’s small details like that that when they happen you can immediately tell the consequences of certain actions will crop up again a few scenes later. But even when that payoff comes it’s still shocking and the film still delivers in the thrills and scares that you want from a film like this.

A Quiet Place Part II is a riveting and frightening film and whilst it doesn’t quite match the level of tension achieved in the first, it is nonetheless a hugely entertaining film and one that you absolutely must see on the biggest screen you can.

★★★★☆

A Quiet Place Part II is released in UK cinemas on June 3

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Scream (2022) | Wes Craven Would Be Proud

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Scream has officially slashed its way into cinemas and brings with it a killer opening as Ghostface returns, serving up a self-deprecating meta buffet of a slasher sequel that relaunches with terrific terror and nostalgic scares which are bloody brutal. Scream has some big shoes to fill, the directors have to fill the shoes of horror icon Wes Craven, which they honourably do, and the screenwriters also have to honour the brilliance of Kevin Williamson and what he brought to this genre and his script for 1996’s Scream.

The fifth entry in the franchise is filled with references to the franchise’s past, movies of the past, present, sequels, remakes, and now Requel, which in itself is part reboot and part sequel. Scream also discusses topics, specifically horror films released throughout the 2000s to now as it’s very self-referential by using Halloween (2018) and Ghostbusters Afterlife, for example, showcasing that these franchises are making requels by setting the film in the same world, at a different time but adding new characters that are in ways related to the “Legacy” characters from the original. Scream knows that it’s a horror movie, and most importantly, it knows this fifth entry is no doubt a “legacy sequel”.

Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

Years after the Ghostface killer first struck, teen Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) gets an ominous phone call, whilst home alone, from a stranger asking what her favourite scary movie is. Scream opening sequences are so iconic to the franchise and this new modern take doesn’t disappoint as Tara is attacked and stabbed multiple times by someone wearing the Ghostface outfit from the in-universe “Stab” franchise, based on the Westboro murders committed by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. The opening is shockingly suspenseful and wholly entertaining. 

Paramount Pictures

The focus here is on a group of young people who certainly have seen enough “Stab” movies to know that the killer could be one of their own including Tara’s estranged sister, Samantha (Melissa Barrera) along with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), who returns to Woodsboro to be with her.

Paramount Pictures

In any sequel, you hope that the new cast doesn’t fall flat and ultimately works well with the returning cast. Take 2018’s Halloween for example with Jamie Lee Curtis returning brings a new generation of Strode women specifically Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, showing the audience how well the newcomers mix with the legacy characters. Scream successfully achieves this as all characters are handled well, though the body count, unfortunately, rises as Ghostface has some new tricks up its sleeve.

In passing the torch to fresh blood, this fifth entry showcases that there are layers of meta to uncover, fresh scars, and wicked fun to be had. The highlights were Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid. All work to drive the narrative along with the help of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courteney Cox). The legacy characters truly provide the nostalgia and emotional connection, the filmmakers treat these iconic characters with the utmost respect.

Scream lives up to its slasher roots as Ghostface goes to town with the hapless victims like a butcher skewing his meat. Characters are sliced, stabbed, and ultimately gutted with glee. They’re brutal when happening but gory and glorious for some. However, some kills have impacts attached as many are heartbreaking and some you want Ghostface to go to town on. I was on the edge of my seat, as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who both previously directed Ready or Not, know how to build tension especially with Brian Tyler’s haunting and eerie score that truly intensifies the film.

Paramount pictures

Scream is about deconstructing the genre and pop culture of the day and aims at filmmaking with killing commentary that’ll make you scream with laughter, whilst still containing the known tropes of a slasher movie. Its squeal-inducing traps and false alarms are so well-earned.

Overall, I believe Wes Craven would be proud of this movie and what it does for fans of the slasher genre. It strikes a visual cord with its toxic fandom commentary and provides a phenomenal entry to the 21st century of modern horror. It’s entertaining with laughter and brutal deaths as Scream continues to reinvent itself and still manages to remain a consistent franchise 25 years later since it started it all.

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Reel Recommendations: Possession – One Restoration You Do Not Want To Miss

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One of my favorite elements in the horror genre is taking a contemporary story and somehow implementing the genre’s core elements. Take the film Cure (1997) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa; the film is about a detective who is investigating a series of grizzly attacks by a serial killer. On the film’s surface, it is your simple crime-thriller ala David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) or his 2007, Zodiac. However, throughout the film, the viewer gets inside of the mind of his victims in a psychological battle between light and dark; understanding the killer’s motivations and way of attack. Enough talk about Cure (1997), that is for another time.

I hold this element of the genre close to my creative heart because the genre does not always need a monster or killer or the loose, the genre is about set-up, execution, and the atmosphere in which those two elements listed are contained. If you are looking for more horror films like that, that are not about unstable detectives, look no further than Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession.

This 40-year-old lost film has recently been gaining a cult following and the film distributor Metrograph has graced film fans with a restoration. My thoughts on that are listed below the review.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is a film about how division; division of two people who seem to be at odds and have fallen out of love for one another amidst the middle of the Berlin Wall, a division of communication between a couple and the affair that has brought them down as well as a division of body and state. Possession is about the breaking point between a couple as they’re in the very early stages of a divorce. They both have simply fallen out of love with one another and have started sleeping with other people, mainly Isabelle Adjani’s Anna. As Sam Neil’s Mark understands the situation unfolds, the more angry and sickly he becomes. There are points where he will look like he has not eaten in days and looks incredibly pale-skinned. There is a moment throughout the first 25 minutes where Neil is having a seizure in a cold sweat.

While Possession is a body horror in terms of visual effects, its a body horror from the performances given. We see both of the films leads reach sadistic and stomach-churning when it ocmes to range. The first half being dedicated to Sam Neil’s perspective of the situation and how he is treating himself during this change, where he goes from calm to physically abusive. Then as the story unfolds, Żuławski pays more attention to Adjani’s Anna, as an audiences we are opening the curtain to what she has been up to when the camera is not focused on her. The camera work works in one takes with very abrupt takes in its editing. Żuławski wants everything to feel like one fluid motion rather than have multiple takes for one single scene. The subway scene in particular roughly has about two-three takes and you do not evne notice because of how hypnotized you are to Adjani’s otherworldly performance. I am treading lightly on the plot due ot the genius of this film is to go in knowing nothing.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is one of those horror films that were lost in time but recently have been gaining a resurgence through word of mouth and many clamoring for a Criterion blu-ray release, and for good reason. Possession includes some of the best performances I have ever witnessed with direction that is unpredictable and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. If there is one restoration you should have eyes on it is this one.

Restoration Review

Possession not only is a wonderful film but is also one of the best restorations I have seen recently. Metrograph elevates the horror film and at times looks like it was made from the last decade. The stark blue color pallette shines due to how cold and emotionally distant the characters are. The sound design is wonderful, every whisper is heard and understood, every scream feels like a scare, every tension-building moment plays like gangbusters. This is one restoration you do not want to miss especially for cult-genre fans.

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HORROR

Stranger Things | Season 4 – Official Trailer

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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Genre:

Horror, Sci-fi

Release Date:

2022

Director:

Netflix

Cast:

Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer

Plot Summary:

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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