What to watch | Emily Blunt battles more silent monsters, a daring true-life rescue and supernatural detectives

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Searching for safety (from left): Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Emily Blunt play the Abbot family in A Quiet Place Part II. (PHOTO: Paramount Pictures)
Searching for safety (from left): Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Emily Blunt play the Abbot family in A Quiet Place Part II. (PHOTO: Paramount Pictures)

A Quiet Place Part II *** 1/2 

Sci-fi horror. With Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy and Millicent ­Simmonds. Director: John Krasinski. 

In our world silence is golden but in this dystopian place, it’s a matter of life and death. Any noise could spell your end at the claws of blind alien monsters with acute hearing.  

It’s day 474 since these creatures arrived on Earth and Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) and her kids have to leave their home to look for other survivors. 

Evelyn has given birth and must fight to keep her baby safe, even if it means hiding him like the biblical Moses in a basket. Her son, Marcus (The Undoing’s Noah Jupe), is firmly under the wing of his deaf sister, Regan (Simmonds, who’s deaf in real life and gives an amazing performance using American sign language). 

There are rumours of an island with more survivors but will it really be as safe as promised? 

A Quiet Place (2018) was a satisfying standalone story that didn’t need a sequel. Now that a trilogy is planned, this second instalment plays more like an episode of a sci-fi series – it’s incomplete with lots of loose threads at the end. The mystery about what hunted the family in the first movie and the intimacy created by setting much of the story in one location has made way for a more run-of-the-mill monster movie. 

Perhaps because we’re now confronted daily by real-­world horrors the scares of this much-­delayed sequel feel a bit watered down. Part II is spot-on as undiluted escapism but disappoints as a follow-up to an excellent film.

– PIETER VAN ZYL 

2020. 97 MIN. 16HV. AVAILABLE ON DSTV BOX OFFICE, GOOGLE PLAY AND APPLE TV+.

The Red Sea Diving Resort *** 

­Michael K Williams, Chris Evans, THE RED SEA DIVI
­Michael K Williams (left) and Chris Evans in The Red Sea Diving Resort. (PHOTO: Netflix)

True-life thriller. This movie is based on the incredible true story of how Mossad agents devised a daring scheme in the early ’80s to rescue Ethiopian Jews from a Sudanese refugee camp and take them to Israel. 

Chris Evans (Captain America in the MCU) stars as Israeli agent Ari Levinson who has an idea to reopen an abandoned seaside hotel as cover while smuggling the refugees to waiting Israeli ships at night.

He ­assembles a team that include a ­freedom fighter (The Wire’s ­Michael K Williams), a flight attendant (Haley Bennett), a doctor ­(Alessandro Nivola) and a diver (Michiel Huisman from The Flight Attendant). But their plans soon ­attract the attention of a ruthless Sudanese army colonel (Perry ­Mason’s Chris Chalk).

With so many great “true events” films released in the past few years, it’s difficult to stand out and unfortunately this film doesn’t manage it.

The filmmakers try hard to give space to the serious plight of the refugees, but the film focuses more on the fictional lead characters and the conventional spy movie situations in which they find themselves.

The film manages to entertain most of the time, but the harrowing true story that should be central is lost among good-­looking people having fun on a beach. Even when the action heroes face threatening situations there’s never a real sense of ­danger. 

With so much potential in the subject matter, the film ultimately fails to deliver. Enjoyable, but forgettable. – DEWALD POTGIETER

2019. 130 MIN. 16L. AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX. 

Evil season 2

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, Evil season 2
Mike Colter and Katja Herbers in Evil. (PHOTO: Paramount+)

This quirky, engaging series was ­created by Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife), who seem ­to delight in continually wrong-footing the audience and subverting ­expectations in a fun, fresh way. 

Evil is reminiscent of The X-Files but instead of focusing on aliens, it’s about debunking religious-themed supernatural occurrences. 

Mike Colter (Luke Cage) plays Catholic priest-in-training David Acosta, who investigates cases of demonic possession with the help of forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers from Westworld), an atheist, who helps him ­discern whether the affected person needs an exorcism or a psychiatrist.

They also get help from tech ­expert Ben (Aasif Mandvi), a non-­practising Muslim, who searches for technological explanations for weird phenomena. 

The engaging Colter and Herbers have a Mulder-Scully chemistry and their characters’ faith or scepticism is frequently tested until neither is sure whether angels and demons ­really exist, while Mandvi is on hand to offer light relief courtesy of Ben’s bone-dry wit. 

The show playfully walks the line between confirming the supernatural or giving scientific explanations and you’re never sure if you’re seeing a character’s hallucinations or reality. There’s also a gleefully creepy ­villain in the shape of Lost’s Michael Emerson as a psychologist who ­enjoys egging people on to commit awful acts and who might just be a ­demon in cahoots with the devil.

Season 1 ended with Kristen ­possibly being possessed but with neither David nor Ben being any the wiser. Will they realise what’s going on in time to save her?

2021. 13 EPISODES. 16VL. AVAILABLE ON DSTV CATCH UP.

A: All ages   D: Drugs   H: Horror   L: Language   N: Nudity   P: Prejudice   PG: Parental guidance S: Sex  V: Violence

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