Director: John Krasinski | 1h 37mins | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Set immediately after the events of A Quiet Place, the Abbott family try to survive in the alien-infested world. When they come across an old acquaintance from their previous life, Regen (Millicent Simmonds) decides to go out in search of other people.
When Kransinski made A Quiet Place just three years ago he joined the ranks of Jordan Peele, Robert Eggers and Ari Aster as unique voices in the Horror genre. Unlike his director peers though, there was always a sense that A Quiet Place was crying out for a sequel. It’s condensed story left much of it’s world to be explored and with it’s gun-cocking ending Kransinski told us there was much more to see. A Quiet Place Part II expands the world as promised but more importantly, it maintains the jaw-clenching velocity of it’s self-contained predecessor.
Aside from a gripping prologue in which Kransinski gets to reprise his role as the Father of the family, Part II pretty much starts where we were left. Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regen (Millicent Simmonds) leave their quiet farmland to venture into the world with the knowledge they now know a weakness to the creatures plaguing the planet, but still remain largely in danger. When they step into an abandoned rail yard they find sanctuary from the film’s newest main character – and an old friend from their past – Emmet.
Emmet is played by Cillian Murphy, an actor who’s now established himself as one of the best working today. But it’s less about his ability and more about the actor’s ambiguity – he’s an actor who has always been attached to morally ambiguous roles, so if you go into A Quiet Place Part II without any knowledge there is an extra air of tension as to what exactly he’s going to do. Although his arc becomes more and more redemptive (and cliche) as the film goes on, it’s a stark reminder that, much like the first film, the characters are priority number one in Krasinski’s eyes.
Knowing that the drop of pin or a single frantic breath attracts the mindless ferocity of the unknown creatures creates a unique cinematic experience that’s continuous in it’s entertainment.
The story flutters between crossing stories of danger and heroism (much like the first did but on a bigger scale) but the film feels centred on Regen. In the first film Regen was torn with grief and guilt at the loss of her younger brother, she often sulked around the screen fighting her emotion but in this, she’s a focused warrior. Her need to follow the bravery of her deceased Father opens the world up, as well as the film’s character focused story. Millicent Simmonds is wonderful in every aspect of her performance, fearful, brave and strong-headed while also showcasing the fragility of the first film. While Blunt and Murphy accompany the film with two visceral performances of their own, it’s Simmonds who shines scene after scene.
The beauty of the film’s style is that it leans heavily into the cliche of the jump-scare, but does so emphatically. The film has numerous moments that are on-par with the first’s ability to shock, but it’s the constant thread of fear that it’s concept induces. Knowing that the drop of pin or a single frantic breath attracts the mindless ferocity of the unknown creatures creates a unique cinematic experience that’s continuous in it’s entertainment. Add to that a spine tingling score and a script that’s wonderfully balanced and what you have is a sequel that – although a little more stretched than the first – is a worthy follow up.
Now that cinemas are back open it seems wrong not to see A Quiet Place Part II, it’s balance of high-concept attraction and impeccable craft is made to be seen on the big screen. This may not have been a planned sequel but Krasinski’s passion for the project, as well as a story that’s unafraid to explore, gives the film a continuously gripping feel that we hope continues in the future.