No one could predict the massive success that would become 2018’s A Quiet Place. The film had a modest budget, a simple and clever monstrous premise, and an unlikely director in John Krasinski – an actor mostly known for comedy before the first film.
Krasinski’s horror debut was a runaway success because he made a film that was enhanced by the theatrical audience. There is nothing like sitting in a sold-out theater when everyone in the room is unanimously holding their breath.
Now, after the long delay due to the pandemic, A Quiet Place Part II is finally here.
Does the sequel capture the same terrifying energy as the first movie? Here is our review for A Quiet Place Part II.
A Quiet Place Part II review
The sequel begins directly after the events of the first film, with the Abbott family having killed the creature in the basement using Regan’s (Millicent Simmonds) hearing aid plus microphone and radio, to create high pitch feedback against the aliens.
Because their home is destroyed, the Abbott family is forced to relocate in hopes of finding safety and resources elsewhere. And as they do, they encounter traps and devices that force the family into a vulnerable position.
But we quickly learn these contraptions were placed by an old friend of the family named Emmett (Cillian Murphy). And while Emmett is a face from the past, he is clearly guarded because of the new world and how other survivors have treated him.
Here we see the sequel explore familiar territory from other horror films, books, and television shows. Similar to The Road and The Walking Dead, A Quiet Place Part II briefly dives into the societal change of a post-apocalyptic world where humans can be deadlier than the creatures.
Emmett is clearly jaded by the new normal and explains to Evelyn Abbott that the humans he has encountered are “not worth saving.” And while he does eventually accept the Abbott family into his refuge, Emmett does so hesitantly.
There is a lot to enjoy with A Quiet Place Part II, but fans who are hoping for a better sequel, need to keep a few details in mind.
For one, the film takes a small dip with the absence of Krasinski as one of the leads. He is still in the film through flashbacks, but having the comparison of both Krasinski and Murphy shown in front of us makes the viewer feel the difference. Murphy is an amazing actor in everything, but without Krasinski, it feels similar to losing Joel in The Last of Us.
The other frustrating aspect of the sequel is that nothing feels brand new. Many of the ideas explored in this movie have been done before in other stories as well as the first movie.
Not to mention, the sequel is structured almost identically to the first film. Going from Abbott family flashback, to their current survival situation, to learning a new weakness of the aliens, and then fighting back. The end of this film also feels almost the exact same but just with a few minor changes.
What remains in the sequel is the cleverly crafted tension from the first movie. Krasinski managed to draw comparisons to early Spielberg with the first entry and that continues here. The way Krasinski frames visual tension is clearly inspired by works such as Jurassic Park. One scene, in particular, feels like Krasinski is paying homage to the Raptor scenes from that film.
The same is true of the sound design. Much like the first entry, the smallest of sounds are amplified to keep the audience on edge. A character simply stepping on grass can make a viewer sweat.
It’s worth noting how much agency the sequel continues to give its disabled character. Millicent Simmonds is once again outstanding in the role of Regan, a girl who suffers from hearing loss and uses her own assistive devices to fight an impossible situation.
Krasinski, who has no visible disability (that we know of), writes as though he understands the resilience that forms when having one. As the story progresses in the sequel, Regan is stubborn and determined and becomes essential to the plot in numerous ways. And as a writer with a disability, it’s rare to see a character with one represented on-screen so honorably.
Should you watch A Quiet Place Part II?
A Quiet Place Part II is not as good as the first entry but honestly, this was never required. Krasinski clearly was trying to use what made the first film work and while he does succeed in doing so, it’s to the detriment of keeping things fresh.
That said, A Quiet Place Part II is a solid sequel that still manages to be a thrill ride despite all of this. Even as the movie ends, audiences will be calling for a third film. We care about what happens to the Abbot family next. And that alone means Krasinski did his job right.
A Quiet Place Part II is now in theaters.