A Quiet Place Part II
A Quiet Place Part II is an improvement over the first film in the sense that it expands the mythos and gives the viewer more of just about everything. There's more backstory, more characters, more locations and more monsters creeping around in the background. Emily Blunt is joined by Cillian Murphy this time around, which makes for a unique dynamic and a big enough departure from the first film to warrant its existence.
Actor-turned-director John Krasinski returns behind-the-lens for the highly-anticipated sequel A Quiet Place Part II, with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe returning alongside series newcomer Cillian Murphy as The Abbott Family continues to navigate a post-apocalyptic world via tip-toe in hopes of not getting completely mauled to death by hearing-sensitive monsters.
A Quiet Place was tense and calculated in its effective use of sound and motion to terrify audiences around the globe (and make people look at your funny for eating popcorn too loud) and now Part II kicks things up a notch, introducing a bigger world, more characters and even more monsters as The Abbott Family wonders outside of their comfort zone in hopes of finding safety and shelter.
John Krasinski sort of shocked the world when he went from solid actor to even better writer/producer/director in A Quiet Place. While my repeat viewings of that film have brought back diminishing returns, I still can’t deny Krasinski’s ability to capture scares without much blood. He also manages to wrestle up new IP in a world plagued with sequels and reboots, especially within the horror genre. A Quiet Place is clever in its use of sound and sight, making each moment strike with a purpose and for that, I give Krasinski credit for smashing it out of the park in terms of being a newcomer director.
A Quiet Place Part II had to live up to that hype, not to mention being originally slated for release last year, before the pandemic came and mucked up all of those plans. Now, Paramount has finally decided that it is time to return to cinemas and with that means a lot is riding on this “first” big release from the studio.
The film follows Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and her three children as they continue to navigate a wasteland of death and destruction, thanks to these mysterious creatures that mostly function via heightened sound, but also incredible coincidence as they manage to pop up at the right place and the right time (for them) with almost no fault.
The first film won me over initially for its unique approach and Krasinski’s technical execution, but repeat viewings started to reveal holes and coincidences, which are carried over throughout Part II, making the film slightly predictable and silly, but still an improvement as far as where to take the story for a follow-up after the first film made so much money.
Krasinski doesn’t simply cash in for the sake of it and instead progresses his characters naturally, exposing them to even more monsters and pushing them outside of their home, which was essentially the backdrop of the first film.
Now, they are on the road, discovering new locations and running into new characters. Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe‘s characters are kind of side-lined to one location, but Millicent Simmonds is given the opportunity to explore a bit more, which also introduces Cillian Murphy to the mix.
And I must say, Murphy’s addition provides the film with a welcoming change, giving audience members a new perspective on the end of the world. Krasinski also pairs this new character with a flashback to Day 1, which adds some context to his own situation, not to mention the overall situation of how these creatures started invading/attacking/appearing.
Krasinski is still keeping things vague, but I would hope an eventual Part III gives us some origins or at least helps bring us to a conclusion — the big reveal at the end of Part I is used sparingly until coming into focus towards the end of this film, which makes you wonder how many more of these are we going to get?
A Quiet Place Part II is still familiar at its core to the first film, which is more of an observation than it is a complaint or even a compliment. The film doesn’t suffer from being a pointless sequel and instead does its best to enhance the experience so that viewers are left wanting just a bit more, despite some of the film’s questionable motives.
A Quiet Place Part II moves faster than the original and doubles down on the monsters, the tension and the use of sound and sight to convey emotion. There are a few strong jump scares that surprised me and a healthy dose of drama that is anchored with efficiency by Krasinski’s skillful cast. Blunt doesn’t seem to get as much attention this time around, but the kids (mostly Simmonds and occasionally Jupe) shine and Murphy more than fills in for Krasinski, which might be proving to be a better hand behind the camera than it front of it, for this particular series.