Looking for an excuse to return to theaters? Then A Quiet Place Part II is a perfect reason to go back. A sequel to 2018 from director and Office alumni John Krasinski’s breakout blockbuster A Quiet Place, this film continues the story of the Abbott family who must try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where society has been destroyed by murderous, alien creatures with highly sensitive hearing.
With their home destroyed and the sacrifice of Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) to save his children in the first film, the remaining family members are now forced to venture into the outside world and find a new home. With John Krasinski returning as writer and director and expanding on a story with a simple yet fantastic setup, it comes as no surprise for me to say that this is a great film and I loved it.
After a flashback that shows the initial events of when the aliens land on Earth and attack its population, we find the remaining members of the Abbot family – Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the newborn baby – without a home and embarking on a journey into the dangerous unknown. Even with the rare knowledge of how to kill the monsters, the survivability of the Abbot family does not look good due to supplies being limited to what they can carry as well as the increased risk of making a sound due to the baby.
Their situation becomes even more dire when Marcus injures his leg in a trap, forcing them to take refuge with a nearby survivor, Emmett (Cillian Murphy). With Emmett not willing to have the Abbott’s stay in his shelter for the long haul, Regan realizes that something must be done to stop the monsters instead of just running and hiding from them. She takes it upon herself to venture out on her own, to find a way of applying her knowledge of defeating the monsters on a wider scale. With help from Emmett, she must hurry if she is to succeed with her mission, for time is running out for the remaining Abbott’s back at Emmett’s shelter, where the monsters are closing in.
With exception to the poorly written and poorly directed scene I’ve dubbed ‘encounter with the crab people’ (you’ll see what I mean when you watch it), the acting is on point for this horror drama, which is to be expected given how well the returning cast did in the first film.
Emily Blunt once again delivers a compelling performance of a mother who must push forward for the sake of her children despite all her loss. She doesn’t have time to properly mourn the death of her husband as she must now worry about finding a new home for her children – one of which is a newborn baby who doesn’t understand the dangerous world it has been born into and cannot help making a noise which is the difference between life and death. Blunt perfectly embodies the tenacity, vulnerability and humanity that makes Evelyn Abbott the mom you want to have in this post-apocalyptic world.
Millicent Simmonds also returns to reprise her role as the headstrong and deaf daughter Regan. Following the death of her father, the introduction of a newborn baby, the serious leg injury of her younger brother and feeling responsible for the death of her other younger brother in the first film, Regan feels the need to step up and take drastic action to help not only her family, but the world too. Simmonds gets a much bigger role this time than in the previous film and does a great job carrying large parts of the story while giving a moving performance of a teenage girl dealing with many life tragedies yet still finding the courage to do what needs to be done.
Newcomer Cillian Murphy also gives a strong performance playing a husband and father who has lost everything. Now a hardened survivor, he tries his best to look out for number one. But when he encounters a mother desperate for help when her daughter runs off to save the world, he learns that there is still some humanity left in himself when he decides to not only find the girl, but to help her on her suicidal mission. Murphy skillfully embodies a man who appears rugged and tough on the outside, but is scared, suffering and in mourning on the inside.
Writer and director John Krasinski (A Quiet Place, The Hollars) has outdone himself and delivered an extremely tense sequel that surpasses the original. I enjoyed the first film with its unique tone that used silence for most of the movie to create tension and drama. It’s quite a nice break from nearly all other movies that use a lot of (and usually loud) sound effects to help tell their story.
A Quiet Place Part II brings back that unique tone by once again using silence as its main audio element and pushes the story into new territory by having our heroes venture out into the world and showing the audience what is beyond the Abbott’s farm. But this time we don’t have the father character around to lead and protect them. This time, it’s more about the actions of the children who lack the wisdom of their parents and therefore can’t help but create drama through their lack of experience and patience.
Honestly, not much really happens. But what makes Krasinki’s film so engaging isn’t the big picture of trying to save the world and traveling from A to B, but the focus on the little things and the frailty of the human condition. Something as simple as needing medicine for an injured leg, running out of oxygen when hiding in an airtight container from the monster, being able to travel with a newborn baby without making a sound or being able to travel without being screwed over by your fellow human, makes for nail-biting storytelling in the hands of Krasinski.
He turns these simple moments into ‘on the edge of your seat moments’ with expert use of silence, well paced storytelling, strong production value and great performances from his cast (excluding the ‘crab people’).
A Quiet Place Part II is an awesome movie, a superior sequel, and I loved it. It delivers the cinematic experience we expect when we go to the theater. If you have the choice of streaming it or seeing it at the movies, then I strongly suggest the latter. With great performances, strong production value, scary monsters, a solid story and nail-biting, tense and tight direction from Krasinski, this is the movie that reminds us that cinema is far from dead.