A Quiet Place was the surprise hit of 2018 and many wondered if the film, which starred husband and wife duo John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, needed a sequel. Krasinski also wondered this and, while working on a treatment for the studio, saw the story come to life and opted to return to the director’s chair for A Quiet Place Part II. So, did this series need a follow up and was it worth the wait?
A Quiet Place Part II works as both a sequel and as a prequel of sorts to A Quiet Place. It opens up with day one, which allows Krasinski’s Lee Abbott to return to the screen for a stellar opening sequence. Krasinski, who also wrote the script, must be commended for his outstanding directiorial style that’s reminiscent of Spielberg and other greats. Krasinski’s camera work often stays focused on the family. The shots are wide and are held for extended periods before cutting. This creates real tension in the scenes and any scares feel genuine as they don’t rely on gimmicky jump scares.
None of John Krasinski’s masterful directing would matter if we didn’t care about the characters. Thankfully, Krasinski delivers in the script for A Quiet Place Part II by developing the characterization of the Abbott family. Emily Blunt may have top billing on the movie, but this movie belongs to Millicent Simmonds, who plays the Abbott’s deaf child Regan. A deaf actor herself, Simmonds owns the role of someone who wants to do more for society amidst the monster invasion while also coming to terms with the fact that her father is no longer alive. She’s a bit out of her element, but her determination to continue what her father has started is the driving force of the movie.
A Quiet Place Part II splits the family up for a good chunk of the movie and sees Regan on the road with the character Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old friend of the Abbott family from the days before the invasion. Their scenes reminded me a lot of the hit video game series The Last of Us (which will be turned into a series at HBO). The two characters are damaged by the events of the aliens and have to find a way to trust and work together despite Emmett being unable to speak American Sign Language like the Abbott family can.
While this is all going on, Regan’s two brothers (Noah Jupe’s Marcus and their newborn brother) and Evelyn are holding down Emmett’s base, an old steel mill. It’s definitely the least interesting half of the movie but it’s by no means weak or tacked on. In fact, some of the best tension comes from this plot point thanks to poor planning, monsters and limited supplies and human error. John Krasinski wonderfully doesn’t use exposition to set up any scenes in A Quiet Place Part II. By simply repeating a certain action over and over, audiences become conditioned to a certain rule and thus, when the rule is broken, we immediately worry and feel the anxiety.
Just as in A Quiet Place, silence dominates the runtime. Since we spend so much time with Regan, we get to hear the world as she would and this jarring cut to silence that happens throughout the runtime is wonderfully tense. Likewise, the roars and clicks of the aliens are wonderfully scary and primal. This is a movie that begs to be seen on the big screen with superior audio mixing. John Krasinski is aware of this too, with the movie opening with a seemingly sincere thank you from him for turning out.
Is It Worth It?
A Quiet Place Part II is definitely a bigger movie than the first part and has much more action and effects heavy shots. But the movie doesn’t feel inferior or bloated or suffering from “sequelitis”. It’s still very much focused on the Abbott family (and Emmett) and the characters are engaging and interesting to watch. The setting and world is quite interesting and thankfully, there are still many questions about the aliens as John Krasinski refrains from giving us all the answers.
Overall, I’d say that A Quiet Place Part II is just as good as the first film and makes for a great companion piece to watch back to back with the original. Millicent Simmonds dominates the movie and Cillian Murphy is likewise a strong presence in the movie. Time will tell if John Krasinski feels the inspiration for a part III on his watch. Here’s hoping he opts to return.
Be sure to check out our review of Guy Ritchie’s surprisingly great movie Wrath of Man and our MCU fan guide to Marvel comics.