Get the low down on the part post-apocalyptic survival tale and part monster flick that asserts John Krasinski’s command as a filmmaker.
2018’s A Quiet Place wasn’t the first movie to use clever sound design (or lack thereof) as both a stylistic choice and a crucial part of the narrative, but it did apply it in a way that gave it blockbuster appeal.
Part post-apocalyptic survival tale and part monster flick, the film gave audiences uniquely tense thrills and showed star and director John Krasinski’s prowess as a filmmaker. As sequel’s tend to do, this year’s A Quiet Place Part II ramps everything up a notch, with new characters, more monsters and a larger scale.
Krasinski returns as director, but unlike the first film that had him collaborating with filmmaking duo Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, he takes sole credit for writing this time around. The original cast of Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe is also back, while Krasinski appears in a single flashback scene that depicts the first day that the monsters arrived.
A Quiet Place Part II picks up immediately after the events of the first, with Evelyn (Blunt) and her children, Regan (Simmonds) and Marcus (Jupe), and her newborn baby, forced to flee the place they’ve called home since the world ended. For the first time, they have to venture beyond the borders of the safe zones they’ve built for themselves and seek out any other survivors. It’s incredibly dangerous, as the world is now populated by nearly unstoppable monsters that attack anything that makes even the slightest noise, but they’re out of options. Thankfully, they’ve discovered that Regan’s cochlear implant, when combined with something that can amplify its noise, can disorientate the creatures long enough for them to be killed.
They end up in the company of Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old family friend who has lost his wife and kids and now survives alone in a makeshift bunker. Regan discovers that a looping, cryptic radio signal is originating from an island that’s only a day’s journey away, and hatches a plan to get there and find a way to transmit the sound of her cochlear implant through the supposed radio tower that the signal is coming from.
Like the first film, the sequel finds a way to split the group and build up to three different climaxes at once. Regan and Emmett go off in search of a boat that will take them to the island, Evelyn goes to look for more medicine and supplies, and Marcus stays behind at the bunker to care for the baby. The monsters feel faster and deadlier than ever, and the way the scenes create an almost unbearable amount of tension through silence is just as impressive as before.
Fans of the original will find much of the same to enjoy here with a lot more action and slightly more worldbuilding. What plot exists in between the “hold your breath” sequences of tiptoeing around monsters and avoiding making noise is pretty bare bones, but it does expand a little on the monsters themselves and what the outside world and its other survivors are like – the good and the bad.
Whereas the original was at its core a story about the fears of parenthood and protecting your children no matter the cost, A Quiet Place Part II puts Regan center stage and puts forth a message about how children adapt, overcome and eventually surpass their parents. And in a world still struggling to cope with the massive loss of life from the COVID-19 pandemic, a movie like this that features children growing up and dealing with the death of a parent or other family member is especially resonant.
Still, for all of its big and brilliant sequences of suspense and monster scares, the film feels a little less emotionally investing and interesting than its predecessor with its family drama and parental anxieties. The premise and novelty of the film is still solid, but there’s definite room for both the characters and the world to be fleshed out in a fuller and more satisfying way. Perhaps there’s still a chance for that in the very likely third film.
‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is now playing only in theaters.