As I entered the cinema to watch the highly anticipated A Quiet Place Part II I was unfortunately met with loud chatty audience members attached to their brightly lit phone screens, needless to say, my annoyance was strong.
However, the conversations halted and popcorn crunching was paused within five minutes of the attention-demanding film’s commencement. And that’s when I knew that I was in for a good time. Taming the teen audience is a challenge, but there’s only one film for the job…
A Quiet Place Part II begins with Lee Abbot (John Krasinski), walking across an eerily quiet town, are we pre or post-apocalyptic? Our questions are soon answered as we enter into the same pharmacy that featured in the first film’s opening scene and see Lee talk to the friendly shopkeeper whilst stomping around in loud boots. Soon after, the buzzing sound of kids shouting and baseball’s batting begins as he turns the corner, entering into a loud family baseball game where we see the loving Abbot family cheering on their son.
However, it’s not long until the real action begins as a beaming flame crashes through the sky and unleashes a hellish parade of sound sensitive beasts. The strong opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the film, which boasts constant “Dun..Dun..Dunnn…” moments. This relaying of intense scares and unpredictable character fates is truly unique to The Quiet Place films.
A Quiet Place (2018) focused on the Abbot family, consisting of wife and husband, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (Krasinski), and their two children Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe) as they attempt to survive in this dangerous world, all the whilst having to prepare for the arrival of Evelyn’s baby who is due any day now. Due to Regan being deaf the family is able to efficiently communicate via American Sign Language (ASL).
Similarly, Part II follows the family as they reach their next hurdle. After their home and supplies have burnt down they need to make it on barefoot, with a low oxygen tank and a new-born baby. Fortunately, it’s not long until they run into Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a recluse who is still grieving the loss of his family. The story soon evolves into a triple threat as Regan goes on a voyage in search of finding a survival community, with Emmett trying to bring her back to the family, whilst Evelyn, Marcus, and the baby hideout in a risky bunker. Throughout the entire film, these interwoven segments never become muddled and always manage to successfully reunite separate themes together.
Simmonds is a pure powerhouse, with her emotionally strong and courageous performance of a determined young woman taking on Lee’s role of the brave patriarch of the family, making her one of recent horror’s most interesting characters. But, Regan shows a distinct strength of selflessness and bravery that is entirely her own, not just a shadow of Lee’s commitment. Her actions resolved my initial worries about this sequel.
When a film is so outstanding it can be difficult to meet the same level of effectiveness, let alone top it, and I believe that most of that previous impact blossomed from Evelyn and Lee’s portrayal of a tender couple trying to raise their family amongst the carnage. And with Lee now permanently absent, I was slightly apprehensive over the lack of sentiment that Part II would obviously have. Alternatively, Part II brings about an abundance of maternal care, with Evelyn giving it her all to save her children, and Regan and Emmett being one another’s grief support partner.
It would be impossible to review Part II without acknowledging the primary characteristic that swaddles the entire film, the creatures. Their exposure is much more generous in Part II, as they make a plethora of appearances throughout the entire film. Now, one creature element that I really did appreciate is the correlation between threat levels and creature exhibition.
Typically, as most recently seen in It: Chapter Two, when we constantly see the villain on screen we lose the mystery appeal, and most significantly we tire of the exaggerated emergence of the antagonist. Krasinski carefully tiptoes across this thread by placing the beasts only at the climax of the scene, where we are already on edge.
Preserving my intrigue was the lack of prototypical survivor algorithms. The banality of the norm is almost completely eradicated, the death of Lee wholly surprised me, and I was not let down by the similar risks taken in this sequel. The phrase ‘no one is safe’ truly comes to mind in reflection, not even the new-born infant is safe!
These bold screams are of course not entirely unheard of, but they are rare. However, as much as I’ve sold this as an adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster, I actually found that one of the most pivotal instances is the inclusion of Emmett, who wallows in dread and devastating loss. Emmett transitions through his character arc with ease, possibly cementing a continued role in the upcoming third film…
Although I am unable to favour one film more than the other, due to their innately alternative routes, I can promise that A Quiet Place Part II is a brave, captivating, and adrenaline pumping thrill into tragedy in the midst of chaos.