John Krasinski’s slick, skilful follow-up to his 2018 post-apocalyptic thriller works well as a genre exercise; with patriarch Lee (Krasinski) sacrificed to the first film, Evelyn (Emily Blunt, Krasinski’s real-life partner) and her three children must once again outwit an army of aliens with exceptional hearing. The brains behind the operation is the hearing-impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who is teamed up with reluctant protector Emmett (Cillian Murphy) while Noah Jupe’s nervy little brother tends to the family’s newborn. To suggest Krasinski is only interested in surface thrills feels at odds with the seriousness of his craft. Judicious pacing, clever cross-cutting and visceral sound design build tension, but there’s an absence of soul, and no satisfying sense of what the monsters might be a metaphor for.
Simran Hans is a film critic for the Observer and a culture writer whose work has appeared in, among others, BuzzFeed, Dazed, the FADER and Sight & Sound.