In 2018, John Krasinski captured many by surprise with his revolutionary horror film “A Quiet Place.” The notion of Jim from “The Office” writing, directing and starring in a horror film seemed far-fetched, yet he smashed expectations and delivered one of the best and most original films of that year. Now, after a pandemic delay, Krasinski’s sequel to his 2018 hit arrived in theaters and managed to beautifully expand the world without losing the audience’s attention
“A Quiet Place Part II” picks up immediately where the previous film left off. Following the death of family patriarch Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and the near total destruction of their farm home, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and her three kids, Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and their newborn sibling, silently set off in search of other survivors. As they venture beyond the safety of their home, the Abbott’s meet the jaded and detached Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former friend and fellow survivor. What follows is a thrilling narrative that opens up the relatively contained environment of the first film as our protagonists venture out into the unknown in search of other survivors and a far off hope of salvation.
Arguably the most original and revolutionary storytelling device of the first film was Krasinski’s use of sound. Forcing the actors to remain almost entirely silent in a world in which the slightest outburst can summon a hoard of blind terrors to snuff out the sound’s source provided Krasinski ample room to build suspense. Scares no longer came from terrifying monsters, though there are still some of those, but instead came from the slightest noise. The breaking of a twig became a nightmare in this brilliantly suspenseful world John Krasinski created. Though no longer revolutionary or exactly original, “A Quiet Place Part II” continues to use this narrative and suspenseful device to a breathtaking effect.
Additionally, the returning cast delivers on their knockout performances just as they did on their previous outing. Emily Blunt is spectacular as a strong, yet terrified mother trying her best to keep her children alive in the worst possible circumstances. Furthermore, both Jupe and Simmonds nail their individual performances and continue their character arcs that were established in the first film. We see Marcus struggle to stay strong in the face of overwhelming danger when he is forced to protect his infant sibling. Likewise, we get an excellent performance from Simmonds as Regan tries to live up to her father’s example and search for a way to reconnect with humanity. Each member of the returning cast is electric, and newcomer Cillian Murphy adds to the ensemble with the tragic survivor Emmett. Audiences are exposed to his depressing view of humanity after the downfall of society and witness whether he is capable of finding hope in people again.
With regards to acting and suspense, “A Quiet Place Part II ” beautifully carries on with what the first film established, but that alone isn’t enough to justify a sequel. Luckily, this film manages to continue the worldbuilding of the first film and opens it up to a greater sandbox for Krasinski to play with. No longer are the Abbotts restricted to the relative safety of their home. Now, they are off in the greater world to face more terrors as both aliens and humans present new obstacles for our protagonists. Audiences are also exposed to additional lore as well, as we are allowed to witness the beginning of the disaster that created this apocalyptic landscape. Providing audiences with a little more context as to why the world is the way it is allows them now to better understand why humanity has become so broken and hopeless. In this way, Krasinski is able to justify a sequel and create more interest and investment in the world he has created.
“A Quiet Place Part II” expertly picks up where the original left off by continuing the narrative and expanding upon the lore the first film established. An excellent cast and beautiful use of sound and suspense make for an engaging movie going experience. Even though the eerie silence and suspense the first film patented is no longer as revolutionary, it is used to great effect in the sequel and well worth a return to your local theater.
Verdict: “A Quiet Place Part II” is a worthy successor to the 2018 smash hit and solidifies John Krasinski’s talent as a writer and director. Stellar performances from its new and returning cast coupled with expert storytelling and great use of sound make for a brilliant film.