A QUIET PLACE PART II (2021)
Sequel opens with a flashback pre-credits sequence to the day the creatures landed and the first encounter between the Abbott family and the vicious predatory visitors who hunt by sound. We then pick up directly after the end of A Quiet Place with mom Evelyn taking daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and her newborn, away from their destroyed home and in search of survivors. They find themselves at what appears to be an abandoned factory where Marcus is severely injured in a bear trap. The factory is now home to Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a friend of the Abbott’s who has lost all those he loves. At first, Emmett wants them gone, as he feels guilty over what he believes is his failure to save his own family, and he doesn’t want to be responsible for them. Soon though, he gets drawn into pursuing Regan, who sneaks off to find what she believes is a group of survivors on a nearby island. This leaves Evelyn alone at the factory to protect her baby and the badly wounded Marcus.
Sequel is once again exceptionally well directed by John Krasinski, from his own script. He has two suspenseful stories going on at once, as Emmett finds and agrees to help Regan in her quest to get to a small island off the coast and Evelyn is trying to protect a limp son and infant child. Obviously, circumstances will bring the predatory beasts about for both parties, as well as, an encounter with some not so civilized survivors for Emmett and Regan. There is some really nice suspense, some very clever touches and once again Krasinski uses some of the story’s more predictable elements to his advantage. We know what’s coming and he uses that to reel us in. Having two storylines running concurrently also works well and Krasinski gives it a nice balance, so no one story gets more attention than the other. We also get dual suspense sequences going on at the same time, more than once, and the director shifts focus deftly, so they are equally potent. The FX are once again very well done. Krasinski keeps the tension taunt and there is enough violence to keep our creatures threatening, yet it remains a strong PG-13 to appeal to a wider audience. We do learn a few new things about the critters. Though they still remain largely mysterious, as they appear to be animals, yet also seem to be acting with a genocidal single purpose. As it has been revealed that this is the second part in a planned trilogy, Part II doesn’t conclude the story outright, or give us too many answers, but does end with a satisfying finale…yet one that smartly leaves us wanting more.
The small cast are once again strong here, with the addition of Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou to the surviving regulars. Emily Blunt is solid as a mother, who has lost a son and a husband and is now desperate and fortified to not lose anyone else. Cillian Murphy is very good as a man devastated over the loss of his family and bitter and angry at himself for what he perceives as a failure to protect them. Through Regan he gets a chance at redemption. As Regan, deaf actress Millicent Simmonds is the real surprise here, as she is wonderful with a more central and important role in this sequel. Once again, she gives depth to the character without benefit of lengthy dialogue to express herself. Regan is the key to the possible eventuality of turning the tide against the invaders and her heroism, resolve and selflessness, in making this journey to save her family, is excellently played by the young actress. Noah Jupe is good as Marcus, a fragile, wounded and frightened boy, who is trying to be strong, especially when he finds himself alone with the infant. Krasinski puts in an extended cameo as likable father Lee in the opening flashback and Djimon Hounsou gives a strong characterization in a small role as a survivor. Ill-fated little Beau also appears in the flashback, but this time played by Dean Woodward, original Beau actor Cade Woodward’s younger brother. Once again, a good cast who perform their parts very well. No horror or suspense thriller completely works unless we are emotional invested in the characters. Script and director assure we are in this case.
Once again, John Krasinski proves that the notion that PG-13 horror is weak, is untrue. This is a taunt, intense and suspenseful movie with some nail-biting sequences and some very effective violent moments. What clichés are used, are used well…such as the stereotypical reverting to savagery by some folks in such an apocalyptic setting…and the flick presents some nice character growth and a sense of hope. A sequel that is very close to being an equal and one that has us eagerly anticipating A Quiet Place III.
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) …SHHHHHH!…They’ll still hear you!