PG Score: 8.25/10
A Quiet Place Part II opened in theaters on 5/28/21
A Quiet Place Part II reaches the coveted peak of a horror sequel that holds up against the original. Writer/Director John Krasinski injects new ingredients into the potent formula of its predecessor while maintaining a similar level of nail-biting tension throughout.
The film takes place shortly after the harrowing events at the Abbott home and again centers on the family's struggle to stay alive in silence. Forced to venture into the outside world, they soon become aware that the deadly creatures stalking them by sound are not all they have to fear. The opening scene is one for the ages and properly sets the stage for the remainder of the riveting 97 minutes. While Krasinski wastes little time in unveiling sheer terror to the audience, he includes a bit of backstory and character/world-building that pays dividends as the movie progresses. These “quieter” moments demonstrate his ability to create moving dramatic sequences along with his flair for frights. They also break up the many chaotic creature encounters without detracting from the inescapable intensity throughout. The main draw is still the horror, and A Quiet Place Part II most definitely answers the call.
A big part of the reason the scares are so memorable is due to the intimidating and unique monster design. While its precursor refrained from revealing too much of the formidable foes, the second installment shows them early and often. These towering, yet lightning-quick aliens are relentless in their pursuit of all human life, and the ensuing eradication is staggering. In another deviation from the first film, the extraterrestrial predators unleash a considerable amount of havoc on-screen. Their chilling appearance makes the merciless attacks that much more unsettling.
The camerawork is phenomenal and features plenty of eye-catching shots. The use of background imagery is especially striking as the monsters are not always visible right away. This adds to the devilishly effective jump scares, which (unlike many other entries in the genre) never feel cheap. The aliens often strike without warning, and Director of Photography Polly Morgan captures the petrifying assaults with the use of deft camera movements. She is responsible for a great deal of why A Quiet Place Part II is likely to stick with the viewer after the credits roll.
Following in the footsteps of the original (figuratively and literally), the sequel’s nerve-wracking atmosphere is primarily based on its use of sound. Since the monsters are solely auditory hunters, silence is the first rule of survival. By now, the Abbott family has mastered operating in absolute quiet, but unforeseen circumstances force them to abandon their tactical movements at times. During these segments, the sudden shift from dead silence to a beast’s blood-curdling cry is truly frightening.
Old and New Faces
Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf, and her disability continues to play a vital role in the Abbotts' fight to remain alive. Krasinski again handles this dynamic with finesse and builds on it by introducing human threats to the Quiet Place universe. The combination of nefarious people and unearthly creatures elevates the horror to new heights.
Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe all reprise their roles as the remaining members of the Abbott family. Blunt carries the load and delivers a forceful performance as Evelyn. Simmonds confirms she is a capable actress through powerful acting, particularly during the more dramatic interactions. Jupe does relatively well as Marcus, who is very different from his mother and sister. The trio is joined by several new additions who bring veteran experience to the table. Cillian Murphy plays the dejected Emmett, and the Peaky Blinders leading man convincingly brings an interesting character to the franchise. Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator and Guardians of the Galaxy) also offers his talents, and the seasoned actor maximizes his screen time in a smaller role.
A Rare Feat
By creating a horror sequel that is on par with (and in some ways, surpasses) the first, John Krasinski stakes his rightful claim to the elusive ground occupied by very few filmmakers. A Quiet Place Part II is a remarkable cinematic achievement that is best experienced at the theater.
PG Score: 8.25/10