2018’s A Quiet Place introduced us to a post-apocalyptic world in which monsters rule the planet. Humans who were fortunate enough to escape being eviscerated by these hideous creatures were forced into a life of silence. No explanation was offered as to where these beasts came from or how long it took humans to figure out they were blind but had excellent hearing.
A Quiet Place Part II begins by filling in gaps in A Quiet Place’s timeline. The first 15 or so minutes of the sequel answers many of the key questions we’ve been left to wonder about, like where did these creatures come from and how did the attack begin? Part II touches on how quickly these vicious monsters were able to overtake humans as the dominant species.
Writer/director John Krasinski kept his monsters off screen in much of the first film but there’s no need to hide the creatures in Part II. The sequel’s opening shows the monsters in all their grotesque glory as they decimate the small town where the Abbott family resides.
From the adrenaline rush of fleeing alongside innocent townsfolk we’re suddenly whisked to Day 474 after the invasion, picking up the story of the remaining Abbotts in the hours immediately following A Quiet Place’s ending. Evelyn (Emily Blunt), now the leader of the Abbott clan after Lee’s tragic death, guides Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) away from their home – the only shelter they’ve known since the aliens began wiping out humans.
A Quiet Place was nearly claustrophobic in its focus on the tiny slice of the planet occupied by the Abbotts. The world expands in A Quiet Place Part II as Evelyn’s forced to flee to keep her family from being sliced and diced by repulsive aliens. The fact the family can communicate in sign language because Regan is deaf plays an even more important role in Part II.
The family’s ability to remain quiet as they walk (barefoot) toward what they believe to be a safe shelter is made much more difficult by the new addition to the family, a baby who arrived not long before Jim was brutally attacked by the invading creatures.
Fortunately for the Abbott crew, a friend from the days prior to the world turning upside down has also survived the invasion. The Abbotts believe there are people worth saving. Emmett (Cillian Murphy) begs to differ. Emmett reluctantly takes in the Abbotts and plays an integral role in Regan’s plan to not just save her family but also possibly save all remaining humans.
Whip-smart and possessing her dad’s courage, Regan steps into her father’s shoes and is the heroine of this sequel. The original film found Regan and her dad discovering they could use her cochlear implant to emit feedback that annoys the creatures and forces them to pause their attacks. That discovery is front and center in the sequel as Regan puts her life on the line while attempting to set the world right.
A Quiet Place Part II divides the action between Regan and Emmett’s journey out into the world, and Evelyn and Marcus’ time inside a warehouse surrounded by aliens. Regan’s so fierce and Millicent Simmonds is such a fine actor that her storyline in the sequel outshines that of Emily Blunt’s mama bear, Evelyn. The pairing of Simmonds with Murphy really clicks, and watching their relationship evolve from casual acquaintances to a more familial bond is at the very heart and soul of the sequel.
Blunt is always excellent, and her real-life hubby once again wrote a character arc that enables her to be gentle, strong, and able to transform into a fierce warrior who’s scarier than any alien invader at any moment.
A Quiet Place Part II doesn’t explain why the family insists on walking around barefoot – maybe that weird choice will be addressed in Part III – but otherwise the actions taken by the Abbotts and Emmett seem fairly logical. Marcus makes horrible choices but he’s a kid so it’s to be expected. That’s especially true given the fact he’s living in a world overrun by killer beasts from outer space.
Writer/director Krasinski plays the monster lurking in the shadows card often, with the sequel containing many more jump scares than its predecessor. A Quiet Place was sneakier, while the sequel no longer hides the threat and plops monsters in every possible scene. The creatures never cease to be creepy to behold, and Krasinski appears to relish allowing us to get an up-close-and-personal look at their hideous heads this time around.
Just as with the original film, Part II is a must-see on the big screen. Krasinski and Paramount made the right move by waiting to release the sequel safely in theaters. The screening I attended was mask mandatory with the auditorium at 25% capacity. But even with the smaller crowd, the shared viewing of this post-apocalyptic thriller evaluated the experience. (It’s much more fun when you’re not the only person jumping out of your seat.)
A Quiet Place Part II is that rare sequel that’s just as entertaining as the original. We know the setup, we’ve seen the aliens, and we’ve gathered the necessary basic info on the Abbott family from the first film. Krasinski takes what we know and uses our attachment to the Abbotts to amp up the terror we feel watching the family constantly struggle to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. Can’t wait to see what happens in Part III!
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, bloody/disturbing images and violence
Release Date: May 28, 2021
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes