As the summer movie season kicks into high gear, A Quiet Place Part II marks my first visit to the movies since September, and there’s no better way to kick back and enjoy a potentially great horror movie than sitting in the theater after everyone has been waiting to see this since its original release date (March 20, 2020). We were *this* close. If that’s not bad enough, you just have to feel awful for those who bought their tickets the week of its release and had to wait longer to see this highly anticipated sequel. But as we learned, patience, like silence, is golden.
What’s the Story: Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family- Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and their new infant baby- must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
The original A Quiet Place from 2018 shouldn’t have been a movie to care about just hearing about it, but it turned out to be one of the most immersive films I’ve ever seen in the theater. It was not only was it one of my favorite films of that year, but I honestly consider it one of the best original horror movies of the last decade. A sequel was in talks right away after its box office and critical fair. Was I nervous? A little. Because most know there haven’t been a ton of sequels in the genre that have worked since it’s very difficult for a team to pull it off, especially coming off a successful first installment. A part of me was worried this would not bring the same amount of satisfaction from before and all this would end up being is an unmemorable experience. Even those I followed on social media and liked it after going to press screenings before lockdown, yet you can never know. But I soon forgot those worries when I can say A Quiet Place Part II is one of the best horror sequels Hollywood has gotten in quite a long time. A Michael Bay-produced sequel from Platinum Dunes to be great? Something must go right in the world.
Once again, John Krasinski directs this while also taking charge writing the screenplay, which he co-wrote the first with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. Just like before, the execution is what made it watchable in how a simple idea of creating a post-apocalyptic world that’s overrun by these creatures without making a sound. Was it able to pass it over in the second installment? Indeed, because I liked the idea of having the story take place after the ending and we’re still having the focus on the Abbot family; not on another family trying to survive since that could make for a repetitive movie once you think about it. Krasinski taking on this sequel with Part II shows he’s a capable director that will not hang up his coat for a while when it’s all impressive how he sets up each scene that knows when to be suspenseful and when to let the audience take a breath without fear looming over us. For us to care about them is one reason why what we’re seeing has worked. For every sequel, it’s usually best to take these familiar characters further to what they’ve experienced, and how they opened up the world-building is what I expected when they have to leave their farm and venture out if any more survivors are out there, even answering some questions that had us thinking previously. Will it be more dangerous everywhere else? Are there more survivors? or How long can we survive without getting killed?
There’s nothing negative to say about the performances because with a limited cast, they still completely own the respective roles that were carried over just thinking they just filmed everything after the first wrapped. Emily Blunt, who won the SAG award for Best Supporting Actress in the first, turns in another fantastic performance, which comes as no surprise because she’s super talented, and Noah Jupe as the son, Marcus, also does an outstanding job. But I cannot praise Millicent Simmonds enough as Regan since she’s incredible in both movies, but I believe this is her movie since it devoted more screen time to her, and there’s never a moment where I never bought she was acting. As much as I didn’t know if I was going to care about a new character that isn’t part of the family, sometimes you can never go wrong with the underrated Cillian Murphy as Emmett, Lee’s old friend who’s a survivor, and this is one of his best performances where the development to his characters was unexpected and his side plot with Simmonds was an aspect I quite liked. And Djimon Hounsou is in this, but I wished he had more to do.
The film’s opening sequence starts as a quick prequel before the title, as we’re shown the first day when the monsters coming to Earth and attacking the small town. We saw it in the trailers so it wasn’t a surprise it was going to open that way, but it hooks you in once everything becomes chaotic, and even nervous when you see people outside not knowing what’s the come next. I loved how we got to see how it happened since most of us wondered that when the first film ended. After that, the building of tension throughout the quiet moments and the action were well-handled without losing a sense of the horror. Honestly, this was scarier with not too bad jump scares that got me. We get to see more of the creatures this time than before, and they prove to be more of a threat than zombies.
Another quality that I knew I was going to love the most was the sound design, and it’s still amazing here when you know it’s used to establish the world. When you have a story where you can’t make a sudden noise, it’s nerve-racking when it happens, and hearing from Regan’s perspective shows again why it’s an important factor to always remember these movies by. It’s that immersive feeling that gets to you when you don’t want to whisper to the person next to you or even buy a bag of popcorn unless you eat one piece at a time. If this doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for Best Sound, it’s worth the complaints. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, as expected, but I’ve always loved having a scene having its characters communicate through sign language. It was because of the first movie that I learned how to sign “beautiful.” Even when it slows down for about five minutes and there isn’t much-spoken dialogue being said on screen, it still glued me with what’s about to happen. The theater I was in wasn’t a huge crowd since I saw it in IMAX, but I’m pretty sure I was reacting the most out of everybody to where I was holding my hands to my mouth, which was under my mask and sometimes made my glasses fog up.
Was there anything too dumb for my nitpick at this point? Those who weren’t fans of the first movie, which I don’t want to talk to those people, probably won’t find that much enjoyment out of here either. And while it might disappoint some with the fact the family doesn’t say together as much as you might’ve expected, it wasn’t much of a problem from what I was seeing. Besides that, you can inspect both movies and just be taken away with how well these two are together when pulling off a double feature.
I walked out of this thinking this was the cinematic feeling I certainly needed. This is a film I’m glad Paramount Pictures and the team held off as long as they could since this one deserves to be seen on the big screen (if you feel comfortable going back); not on an enormous 4K television that won’t give off the same experience. There was no better film to mark my return to the movies, which will prompt more visits while I’m on summer break from work pretty soon. As soon as it ended, I seriously wanted more, which is solid praise from me. There have been recent talks about this franchise becoming a possible trilogy, and I would be down to see what’s to come next since we still invest many of us with this family, as long as Krasinski is involved. 2021 is going to offer what are hopefully impressive movies to scare its audiences for the rest of the year (Last Night in Soho, Candyman), and there’s no doubt we have a real winner here. For me, this is how you make a follow-up right.
Final Thoughts: A Quiet Place Part II is a terrific horror sequel that’s on par with its predecessor. You gotta hand it to Krasinski for truly delivering the goods once again, in bringing the non-stop tension, the world-building, incredible sound design, and performances from everyone involved.