A QUIET PLACE: PART II ½
PG-13, 97 mins.
2021, PG-13, 97 mins.
Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott / Cillian Murphy as Emmett / Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott / Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott / Wayne Duvall as Roger / John Krasinski as Lee AbbottWritten and directed by John Krasinski
The original A QUIET PLACE was not only one of the most masterfully executed high concept horror thrillers of recent memory, but it also was one of the most memorable filmgoing experiences of my adult life.
highly ironic, then, that this 2018 John Krasinski directed affair did the
unthinkable and unattainable of teaching audiences to keep their
collective mouths shut while watching it in a cinema...but then its
inevitable sequel was essentially silenced and put on hold by the
shuttering of cinemas worldwide during the early stages of a global
It's easy to forget how micro budgeted A QUIET PLACE PART I was (just under $20 million, and it went on to gross nearly $350 million worldwide, making it a bona fide cinematic happening for its time), not to mention how staggeringly effective it was as a pure exercise in nerve wracking terror. Most importantly, though, I screened that film in a packed cinema on day one and it was and still is the only screening that I've attended that had a capacity audience remain virtually silent throughout it's running time. In an era where movie manners and etiquette have hit all time lows, this film was indeed an ultra rare and special commodity.
brilliant post apocalyptic premise contained within forced viewers to
actively engage in the events of the story, living vicariously through the
damaged characters that were forced to remain hush-hush in order to
survive the murderous attacks of salivating and mankind hungry
extraterrestrial invaders (silence was humanity's only defense).
A QUIET PLACE: PART II was a complete foregone conclusion based on
its predecessor's financial success, and, to be fair, it most certainly
doesn't have the first installment's groundbreaking, lightning in a bottle
aesthetic freshness of approach.
Having said that, Krasinski (returning again behind the camera) has
nevertheless made a sensationally engineered, thanklessly tight, and pulse
poundingly intense follow-up that does what great sequels should do in
terms of expanding and enriching series mythology.
best analogy I can make in comparing A QUIET PLACE: PART I to PART II is
that the latter is ALIENS to the former's ALIEN.
The franchise introductory chapter was all about crafting an
undulating sensation of raw terror, whereas its sequel is heavier on
action and spectacle while still maintaining that anxiety-inducing sense of
pure ROCKY II-esque fashion, A QUIET PLACE: PART II opens (sort of)
precisely after the climax of its antecedent, but before that Krasinski
segues back to "Day 1" of the alien beasties arriving on Earth
via a fireball from space.
What's striking about this introductory scene is that it presents
the world of the small town that Lee (Krasinski, making a cameo here), his
wife in Evelyn (Krasinski's wife in Emily Blunt), and their kids in Marcus
(Noah Jupp) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) reside in with haunting
It's a bright, sun drenched summer day and Lee is trying to pick up
some supplies at the local store before making it to his son's baseball
most jarring thing on display here is simply the noise, all
of which would have spelt doom for these characters in the last film: The
crack of a bat, the roaring cheers of the crowd, and screaming players on
the bench, and so forth.
Then the H.G. Giger's inspired creatures from the cosmos arrive
without warning and start carving their way through the shocked townsfolk,
none of whom know how to defend themselves from this menace.
It's simply one of the finest and most chilling openings to a
horror sequel that I've seen.
From here we then flashforward to the "present" and just after the severely foot injured and recently child birthing Evelyn euphorically cocked her shotgun to take out one of the disgusting E.T.s (with an assist from her hearing impaired daughter in Regan, who discovered a key weakness in the aliens via her cochlear implant) that (spoiler alert) just murdered her husband. With the newfound power in the knowledge of what can take these insect-like critters down, Evelyn gathers her newborn and what remains of her kids in Regan and Marcus and they depart out of their devastated family farm and look for help on the outside world. They find refuge in an old town acquaintance in Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who's all alone after suffering huge family losses and is now living in an abandoned factory. Cruel fate and circumstance splits these survivors up, with Emmett and Regan going out to search for the source of a recently found radio signal (Regan has a plan to ingenuously hijack and weaponize it) and Evelyn venturing out on her own for supplies, leaving Marcus (who - in a disturbingly cruel twist of fate - has horrifically injured his foot and leg like his mother before him, and is now called upon to look after his new baby brother).
just say that all of them fail to stay quiet.
there were to be a minor, nitpicky criticism that I have of A QUIET PLACE:
PART II it would be that it doesn't altogether sway from the traumatizing
hide and seek games between the humans and the aliens from the first
anything, Krasinski is playing into his series comfort zone wheelhouse,
leading to a sense of familiarity to the proceedings this go around.
Still, I would defend that by saying that more of a great
thing is most definitely not a bad thing here, and Krasinski, to his
esteemed credit, shows why his bravura and assured direction in his rookie
effort was no mere one-time fluke.
Like PART I, this new film contains a bounty of meticulously well
rendered life and death moments of panic-laced suspense, and the sophomore
director knows precisely how to drum up nightmarishly unendurable unease
at times in the build up to the moments when these characters have to come
face to face with the alien enemy.
Both A QUIET PLACE entries are able to foster Hitchcockian levels
of sheer tension in the most modest of ways.
Walking through a field...or a train car...or a station...or a
peer...is rife with the constant danger that these monsters can be unleashed
when provoked with the most minute of sounds.
Even the strong stomached veteran filmgoer in yours truly watched a
lot of this sequel through my fingers.
is an argument to be made that A QUIET PLACE: PART II is maybe too
wall-to-wall action for its own good and that all of the VFX, sound and
fury that are on display this time is a bit counterproductive to the first
film's end game.
That, and many of the crafty characters make the same tired and
cardinal blunders that oh-so-many other horror movie characters have made
in the past (like, for example, not staying safe and put and instead
venturing off on your own and leaving oneself completely vulnerable to the
But the sheer craftsmanship on display here is so damn good that
you want to forgive Krasinski's over indulgences with an increased budget
(he had nearly triple the funds this go around, and it assuredly shows
here in the final product).
It's kind of amazing just how economical this sequel is on multiple
what came before, A QUIET PLACE: PART II is lean and mean with its running
time and has trimmed all of the unnecessary fat off of its bones (at
barely over 90 minutes, it tells a lot of story and expands upon the lore
during that time).
Perhaps more brilliant is the astounding cross cutting editing on
display by Krasinski and his team during the final act, which fluidly
intercuts between two sets of teamed-up characters very far apart and
relays their shared trauma of being attacked by these creatures.
The manner with which Krasinski ebbs and flows between these two
subplots and their respective and key players is efficiently coordinated
and mesmerizing to behold.
And by the time this sequel reached its conclusion I was absolutely
wanting to see an additional part moving forward, something I can't say
about the cookie cutter horror genre assembly line that permeates the
industry as of late.
once again shows what an adept actors-director he is, and the performance
ensemble is as good as it gets here.
Emily Blunt's Evelyn is somewhat saddled with a less intriguing
character arc this go around (she's in pure action heroine mode this time
more than ever), but she's so emotionally committed that the thought of a
lesser actress in the role is hard to ponder.
As for the other adult characters, I liked Cillian Murphy's
addition in the story, and he's certainly no stranger to post-apocalyptic
horror (remember 28 DAYS LATER, anyone?).
His emotionally and physically battle ravaged small town bloke that
has nearly given up on life and survival is given a new lease on it with
the appearance of
Evelyn and her family in dire need.
The real standout here - as was the case before - is the Oscar
worthy turn by young Millicent Simmonds, who shows a level of adolescent
strength, determination, intelligence and courage that's frankly not
afforded to young characters in movies these days, and she's able to
command and carve out a sizeable screen presence playing off of the
veteran in Murphy.
Plus, how inspiring is it to have a young female disabled character
(played by a disabled girl) that's elevated to hero/savior level status in
a sci-fi horror franchise?
One of the core messages I was left with from A QUIET PLACE: PART I
was that sometimes children don't need to be protected as much as they
need to be made to feel that they can fend for themselves.
No more is this apparent than with Regan in PART II; she becomes an
empowered leader that tries to lead the charge to taking the battle
straight to the monsters. Everyone around her wants to be on the
defensive, but she wants to take the offensive. Now that's gutsy.