A Quiet Place, Part II

2021 | PG-13 | starring Millicent Simmonds, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, John Krasinski | written & directed by John Krasinski | 1 hr 37 mins |

[Spoilers for A Quiet Place]

One of the first movies to be punted in the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, John Krasinski’s sequel to his 2018 smash monster movie finally lands in theaters a year later. I was a big fan of the fresh and bold execution given to A Quiet Place (4 1/2 out of 5), emphasizing simmering tension and suspense over jump scares. A classic Speilbergian family thriller, mixed with B-movie monster fun. Only lacking the element of surprise, Part 2 has all of the first film’s craftmanship – even at times looking better than it’s predecessor. As much as I loved the first film, and felt even it’s abrupt cut-to-black ending rounded it off well, I still wasn’t entirely convinced we needed a sequel. This one delivers the thrills.

Picking up minutes after the first film, the Abbott family’s defeat of a pack of skittering monsters invading their farmhouse and the loss of the family patriarch, mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and son Marcus (Noah Jupe) set out with their newborn child to find more human survivors. They encounter a former friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) living in isolation, surrounded by traps, but a broadcast from Emmett’s radio inspires Regan to set out on her own and find a new home, throwing the entire group in peril.

It’s not a bad or good thing, but A Quiet Place, Pt II is designed, not as a fully rounded movie in it’s own right, but an add on to the first film. The first film is the house and Part II is the fancy new deck Krazinski built onto it. It feels incomplete on both ends, as if the middle part of a trilogy – which is fine, because it is still satisfying in it’s own right. Krasinksi (both writing and directing and appearing in a lengthy and very effective flashback to the invasion day), shifts the focus from Emily Blunt’s Evelyn to the kids – specifically setting up Millicent Simmonds to carry the film – which the young actress pulls off with flying colors. Because Regan (and Simmonds) is deaf, he takes the already dialog-slim movie to an even bolder extreme by putting us in her head and dropping all audio out of the film during a few of her segments.

The movie excels at the post-apocalyptic setting. The overgrown landscape, the traps and the world building of delipidated trains and different factions of survivors (played with far more subtlety and realism than the villains of, say, The Walking Dead). It looks great. One shot in particular with Blunt walking away from a cross at night with all the color washed out and light beaming through the trees looks like something out of The Exorcist. The film is shorter than the first film, but it feels even faster, moving quickly from one threat to the next and splitting the film off into 4 sections to follow all 4 characters as they encounter parallel evils and revelations. Like many recent bigger Hollywood movies, Part 2 doesn’t have much of a second act and still makes it work. Halfway through there is a change in setting, which would usually cause a bit of a reset in the pace or story, but apart from a brief monologue from Djimon Hounsou about his experience during the initial attack, the movie immediately re-launches into it’s thrilling multi-pronged climax.

A Quiet Place, Part II is a mercilessly efficient thriller. It continues building out the world of the first film, while staying fresh and retaining the movie’s ability to send us chewing down our finger nails. It’s not an overly complicated movie, and that’s one of the things that makes it so good.

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