The wait has been worth it. The outbreak of COIVD-19 significantly delayed the release of A Quiet Place Part II and it is now difficult to watch this film without drawing parallels to the world on a precipice. How I’ve missed quality Hollywood fare of this ilk. Tension characterises the movie, which picks up where the first one left off.
A sequel wasn’t intended until the A Quiet Place became a hit. Now John Krasinski, who wrote himself out of the initial installment, has crafted a second cracker. And, yes, in spite of dying in Part I, he is back – albeit briefly – in Part II.
The follow-up starts with a backgrounder on how ferocious aliens arrived from the sky, intent on destroying all who dared make a sound. After 474 days these fast moving, powerful, insect-like creatures have laid waste to humanity and there are seemingly very few survivors. Among them are Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and her three children – deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), fearful son Marcus (Noah Dupe) and a baby. Their home is no longer safe, so they pack up whatever belongings they can carry and slowly and carefully set out (shoeless) to a location in the distance, where smoke has appeared on the horizon.
There they find a former friend and neighbour, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), whose wife died 11 weeks ago … and aliens listening out for even the slightest of noise. While Emmett reluctantly gives the Abbotts shelter for the night, he is intent on seeing them out of there the next day, until Evelyn reveals her concealed baby. Thereafter, a resourceful Regan discovers what may be a way out of this mire – an island that could hold the key to their survival. But getting there is another matter altogether – one that involves a great deal of risk.
A Quiet Place Part II follows twin story threads as Emmett and Regan go off in one direction and the rest of the Abbott clan another. The sound design and production values (production design is by Jess Gonchor) on this movie are exemplary. It’s gripping, chilling and exciting from start to finish.
The first film had no dialogue for a significant portion of the beginning and this also is done with a minimum of speech, rather relying upon natural sounds and music by Marco Beltrami. These devices are just as effective second time around. The cinematography (particularly the close ups) by Polly Morgan is evocative.
The performances of all of the key players are first class. Emily Blunt is impressively expressive. The terror in her face says it all. A blood curdling scream from Noah Dupe is among his highlights as his character – like the rest of us – tries to grapple with the unknown terrors that await. Millicent Simmonds’ credibility in her role is based around her persona’s smarts and bravery, which she channels effortlessly. Cillian Murphy transitions Emmett from morally ambiguous to life saving.
Krasinski has done a great job providing a series of cross-over moments of heightened anxiety as the two storylines weave together. Like the best horror thrillers, there are a number of jump scares and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Like A Quiet Place, A Quiet Place Part II is high quality entertainment that lives up to expectations.
And a final note, while Part II stands up on its own, to maximise the experience, why not watch Part I again (or for the first time) before seeing this sequel?
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.