Evan B’s review published on Letterboxd:
a lot of the action in this movie is downright incredible in the way it relies on methodical visual language, sound design, blocking, & camerawork with minimal dialogue for extended periods of time. the tension it achieves is sustained and impressive!! I also loved the creative cross-cutting between locations, which happens so rapidly in climactic moments that similar action in different settings blurs together, creating a very cool effect.
but as much as the technical cinematic thrills are firing on all cylinders, the storytelling is not nearly as strong, so that when the credits roll, they cut off an unfinished narrative in a way that’s abrupt & unsatisfying. throughout the movie, there’s not enough happening in terms of character to support the scares with meaningful substance (though the theme of finding community is admittedly relevant to isolated times, the basic concept of the story doesn’t feel like it is explored to its full potential.)
the character work we do get seems like it could’ve gone in a much more fresh and interesting direction; why did we need a new dull father figure guy in the mix when you could either bring in a more original type of character, or written things differently in a way that allowed Emily Blunt more time & space to shine as a hero in the lead alongside her daughter? another complaint that I’ve seen others mention too is that the couple of Black characters we meet felt uncomfortably tokenistic, showing up for only a few minutes of screen time and being treated as disposable. and maybe this is reading too much into things, but the general longing to return to an idealized lost past of small-town america in that opening sequence (pre-invasion of the foreign Other, and before the need to take up arms to defend the family unit, who is being silenced) feels too aligned with certain far-right narratives for comfort, if only in a subtle, unintended type of way.
with all that said, I absolutely loved the herosim of Regan’s character and the way she takes center stage in this sequel, providing another recent instance of positive representation for the Deaf community in recent major films such as Sound of Metal and Godzilla vs. Kong. let’s hope it continues and that more Deaf actors like the phenomenal Millicent Simmons are given the roles they deserve!
that review was all over the place, but I’ll end by stating how amazing it felt to be back in a movie theater for the first time since COVID, soaking in darkness, watching light—truly rejuvenating and I’ve missed it. 😭