James Jay Edwards reviews A Quiet Place Part II, an American horror film and sequel to the 2018 film, written and directed again by John Krasinski. (Paramount Pictures)
One of the greatest theatrical experiences I can remember was seeing A Quiet Place in 2018. There was something electric about being in a theater packed full of people, all of whom were completely silent, hanging on every moment of a film that was almost equally silent. So, when writer/director John Krasinski (better known as Jim from NBC’s The Office) declined to go the Theater-At-Home route when A Quiet Place Part II was about to open and the world shut down due to COVID, I, for one, was very happy. I didn’t know then that it would be over a year until I got to see the movie, but finally, it’s here. And in theaters. And it’s incredible.
A Quiet Place Part II picks up pretty much where A Quiet Place left off, with the world overrun by super-hearing monsters that attack anything that makes even the slightest bit of noise. Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt from Sicario) has both just lost her husband and given birth to their child, and along with her other two children, Marcus (Honey Boy’s Noah Jupe) and the hearing-impaired Regan (Millicent Simmonds from Wonderstruck), she sets out to find other survivors, because Regan has found a weakness in the monsters that may help the world defeat them. With the reluctant help of a neighbor named Emmett (Cillian Murphy from 28 Days Later…), the family trudges on towards hope. But the monsters aren’t the only threats in the outside world.
(A Quiet Place Part II, theatrical release poster, courtesy Paramount Pictures)
For A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski does the smartest thing he can do. He doesn’t embrace the almost-silent gimmick of the first movie. Of course, it still takes place within the same universe, and sound (and the lack thereof) is a very important part of the story, but the world has opened up from just being set within the confines of the Abbott home, so there’s more to hear. And composer Marco Beltrami (Underwater, World War Z), who seemed audibly stifled by the sonic limitations of A Quiet Place, really makes up for lost time with his energetic and pulsing score.
Some knowledge of the previous movie is needed to fully appreciate A Quiet Place Part II. Understandings of both the audio-seeking threat and the nuances of a silent world are helpful, as is an awareness of some of the characters’ fates from A Quiet Place. But A Quiet Place Part II is a different animal. It’s less of a microcosm, and it lets the audience see more of the world that Krasinski so carefully created in the first go-round.
(A Quiet Place Part II, Photos by Johnny Cournoyer, courtesy Paramount Pictures)
Cillian Murphy takes over the Krasinski father figure role, and Emily Blunt is terrific, but Millicent Simmonds really steals the movie. Just as she did in A Quiet Place. Only her role is more substantial in A Quiet Place Part II, not only in screen time, but in consequence. And the young actress embraces the opportunity, and hopefully this means that she will get more similar opportunities in the future. The world needs more Millicent Simmonds.
I really, really, REALLY want to write about the final scene of A Quiet Place Part II, because it is brilliantly done, but alas. No spoilers here (which is why this review is purposely vague about some things). Just know that A Quiet Place Part II is just as intense of an experience as the first movie, with higher stakes. And yes, it is best experienced in a theater with a crowd, if you’re up for it. Krasinski was right about that, too.
Check out the podcast Eye On Horror for more with James Jay Edwards, and also features Jonathan Correia and Jacob Davison.