Don’t make a sound…because the monsters are back and bloodthirsty as ever. A Quiet Place Part II comes to theaters after a year’s delay. I’m pleased to report the film is well worth the wait. The Abbott family has escaped their farm and must now find refuge in a terrifying world. They continue to be hunted by the vicious creatures, but learn that humans are just as merciless. The sequel is a taut, visceral thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot falls prey to standard horror tropes, but never lets the anxiety abate.
A Quiet Place II initially explores two timelines. We see “Day One” of the attacks, and then the immediate aftermath of Lee’s (John Krasinskii) heroic death. Evelyn (Emily Blunt) cradles her newborn infant while guiding Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) through the woods. They carry an oxygen canister for the baby. While Regan has rigged a portable speaker to amplify her hearing aid’s high frequency distortion. She also brings her father’s maps.
The Abbott’s bare feet gingerly tread towards the source of a distant signal fire. Their arrival at a decrepit factory is not without issue. A life or death situation leads to another survivor. Emmett (Cillian Murphy) is an old friend of the family, but not happy to see them. He has lost all hope. There’s no more room for kindness. Emmett gives them a day to leave, but a mysterious song on the radio sparks Regan’s resolve. If other people are out there, they need to know of her weapon. But survival of the fittest means that the creatures are not their only adversaries.
A Quiet Place 2 keeps the tension flowing seamlessly from the first film. The characters are constantly under some form of duress. Writer/director John Krasinski enthralls with situational awareness. The baby is not a prop and must be kept quiet at all times. They need medical supplies and food. There’s safety in a furnace, but oxygen will run out. The Abbott’s communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). Emmet must remember to look Regan directly in the face and “annunciate” when talking to her. They are all haggard from the perpetual ordeal. The ensemble cast does a banner job emoting the arduous toll of staying alive.
John Krasinski’s script has several failings. The narrative suffers from the same illogical behavior that plagues horror films. The characters, who are all very smart and capable, act impetuously and foolishly when they obviously shouldn’t. No spoilers here, but I’ll use the analogy of teens separating and running blindly into a forest when being chased by an axe murder. There’s no reason for such a drastic move, but done by filmmakers to create cheap conflict. You have to factor in willing suspension of disbelief for this genre. The original was so smart, I was hoping the sequel would be on the same level.
A Quiet Place II dramatically widens the scope of the overall story. We learn much more about the creatures, especially a critical new weakness with huge ramifications. But there’s a lot left unknown that teases multiple future films in this universe. A Quiet Place II is a must-see in theaters. The cold, dark ambience heightens the scare factor. I saw the film in a state of the art Dolby theater. The audience was glued to the screen. You could have heard a mouse fart. A Quiet Place II is a production of Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night, and Buffalo FilmWorks. Paramount Pictures will release the film theatrically on May 28th, followed by a streaming premiere July 12th on Paramount+.
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