A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Review

WITHIN THE SOUND OF SILENCE


 

In 2018, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was small “hidden gem” that went under the radar for most and turned a big reward for its endeavor. The movie, which starred (and directed by) John Krasinski along with his wife / actress Emily Blunt, centers around a family that struggles to survive and raised their two children in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by savage, blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing. Surprisingly, A Quiet Place received both positive and critical praise from critics and moviegoers alike; ; garnishing critical praise for its suspense, story, sound editing / mixing, and focus characters as well as  raking in over $340 million at the box office against its modest production budget. Now, roughly three years after its initial release (and some delays), Paramount Pictures and director John Krasinski return to project for a continuation sequel with the release of A Quiet Place Part II. Is this second chapter worth a glance or is it an unwanted sequel that cashes in on its “double dipping” sound gimmick?

THE STORY


Picking up immediately after the events of the first movie, the remaining members of the Abbott family, including Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe) prepare to leave the destroyed farm domicile; seeking shelter nearby from the sound sensitive creatures that stalk the lands. Making their way into a steel refinery, Marcus is wounded, causing a scene that attracts some of the vicious creatures nearby, but attracts the attention of Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former friend who’s lost everything to the invaders, and has become a very fragmented and distraught individual since. Understanding a coded radio signal and with knowledge of weaponizing sound to weaken the creatures, Regan decides to look for refuge on an island, heading into the wild on her own. While Evelyn begs for Emmett’s help in retrieving her daughter, the Abbott matriarch heads out into a dangerous world to find medical supplies for her son and her newborn baby.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


I do have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to like 2018’s A Quiet Place. From the trailer previews and marketing campaign that the movie was presenting, it looked like (to me at least) your stereotypical suspense horror movie, which are almost like a “dime a dozen” in this day an age of theatrical feature films. So, while I was definitely intrigued by the film’s premise, I went into A Quiet Place with a bit skepticism. However, after I watched it during its opening weekend, I was completely wrong. I loved it. As mentioned above, I felt that the movie was quite the “hidden gem” of 2018 as I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was; giving off a very lasting impression on me and many others out there. I really liked how the movie is (more or less) focused on the characters (i.e., the Abbott family) and the struggle to survive rather than the expansive narrative of the post-apocalyptic setting. Plus, the usage of sound editing and design was handled masterfully in the film; presenting a quite adept understanding of the sound leveling for the story to height suspenseful moments and never feeling gimmicky. Overall, I thought that A Quiet Place a small tightly woven movie that’s big on thrills and characters and deserves a lot of praise for what it achieved with a mostly modest production budget.

This, of course, brings me back to talking about A Quiet Place Part II, the 2021 sequel film to the original film. The ending of the first movie definitely ends on a good cliffhanger; believing that the story of the Abbott family clearly wasn’t over. Thus, I was really curious to see if a sequel would be greenlit, which (after a weeks after the film’s release) was announced. When it was announced that Part II of the 2018 film was going to be release in 2020, I was definitely interested in seeing it, especially when the studio released the film’s first movie trailer for the project. Got me all excited to see it. However, the events of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shuttering of movie theaters delayed the sequel for almost a year, with the studio rescheduling the upcoming film moving to several dates before landing on May 28th, 2021. So, I decided to see the project during its opening weekend, which I did, but I fell a little bit behind on getting my review done for you guys. Now, that I have the time, I’m finally ready to share my thoughts on A Quiet Place Part II. And what did I think of it? Well, I really liked it. Despite some familiarity, A Quiet Place Part II is a thrilling sequel that delivers on its expanded story and suspenseful moments. Of course, the movie doesn’t beat out the original movie, but it is still a great and entertaining continuation of the 2018 film.

As mentioned, actor / director John Krasinski returns to the director chair for Part II and certainly does a great job. On the whole, Part II retains much of what made the first Quiet Place work so well, with actor / director John Krasinski returning to helm the project. Because of this, the film itself feels like a solid continuation of the first feature; extending / continuing the journey of the Abbott family as they pick up the pieces and try to move on in this post-apocalyptic world. Interestingly, the movie does a have a terrific opening salvo, with Krasinski present a flashback scene on the day when the creatures first arrived. It’s a great scene and explores more of the “Day 1” experience as well as introducing more tidbit info on their arrival that lays the ground for more mystery and intrigue without spelling everything out completely.

Overall, Krasinski keeps Part II focus on the Abbott family, but also does make the sequel open up more by expanding the narrative; taking the story to a few new places and introducing a new character. Much like the first film, Krasinski keeps Part II relatively short (clocking in around 97 minutes) and never feels bloated with unnecessary sub plots or going off on a tangent. Additionally, the thrills / suspenseful moments continue to work as they did in the previous entry as Krasinski stages plenty of terrific moments that build upon the scene’s tension and current situation. Of course, the sound editing / mixing is once again a major component in the movie and Part II plays to that strength; creating several intense moments that play upon the muted silence as well as building suspenseful sequences that truly do excite / frighten. Plus, returning composer Marco Beltrami delivers another solid composition for the movie; creating musical moments of both soft tenderness and intense thrills.

The problem with Part II is the overall familiarity the property and what many will come to expect from the film itself. How so? Well, the movie does fall into the same pattern of the first installment of run, hide, and fight. It’s definitely a proven narrative to follow, but it’s already been down in similar projects, including the first Quiet Place feature. Thus, there is a lot familiar scenarios and tactics that are utilized, making the film feel slightly predictable. This is why Part II can’t overcome the exciting nature of what made the first feature truly spectacular and completely refreshing. Perhaps the more presenting issue at hand is that the movie’s ending end more abruptly than the first Quiet Place; making Part II feel a bit more inconclusive than its predecessor and leaving threads dangling by the time the credits begin to roll.

Much like the first film, the cast of A Quiet Place Part II is also one of the film’s stronger aspects, with much of the returning acting talent returning to reprise their roles from the first movie. While actress Blunt and John Krasinski were the main focus of the first film, Part II’s main focus definitely comes squarely on actress Millicent Simmonds as the central protagonist character in the movie of Regan Abbott. Similar to how she handled herself in the first film, Simmonds’s, who is actually deaf in real life and has been in several other productions such as This Close and Wonderstruck, acting is superb and carries herself well as Regan, who is slowly become the more and more like her father in the story (i.e., protecting her family and doing what is right). Overall, it was great to see Simmonds’s Regan back on the screen it is quite amazing to see what the she can accomplish (in both acting and her character in the story,). That’s not to say that Blunt, known for her roles in Mary Poppins Returns, Edge of Tomorrow, and The Devil Wears Prada, is still just as fantastic as Evelyn as the actress is quite talented as the Abbott’s matriarch figure. Her involvement in Part II is still quite impactful to the story, but Evelyn simply taking a bit more of a “backseat” in Part II, but still has two or three outstanding moments in the film that Blunt handles beautifully.

Lastly, of the returning Abbott family players, actor Noah Jupe (Ford vs. Ferrari and Wonder) reprises his role as Marcus and certainly improves upon his acting talent with his character. In Part II, Jupe’s Marcus gets his own sub-story in the movie and definitely holds his own and makes the character memorable, despite having a bit more limited screen time in Part II’s grand scheme of things….in comparsion to the first movie. His acting is great and character is good, but just wished they was more of him in Part II. As a side-note, John Krasinski (The Office and 13 Hours) does return for a small appearance as Lee Abbott (as seeing in the film’s promo / trailer marketing). I won’t spoil it, but it was great to seeing him again in Part II.

Joining the cast is actor Cillian Murphy, who indeed is a welcomed addition to the small yet effective cast. His character of Emmett isn’t fully fleshed out as much as the Abbott family members, yet Murphy, known for his roles in Batman Begins, Inception, and Peaky Blinders, still turns the character to be quite an endearing one; playing the fragmented man with a sense of mystery and determination (something to fill the void of Krasinski’s Lee in the sequel). Definitely a great addition to the small yet effective cast in the movie and it will be interesting to see how Murphy’s Emmett will play in future installments (if Part III is ever greenlit). The only other new addition that appears in Part II would be actor Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator and Blood Diamond), who plays the unnamed character that is simply called (on the official credits) is “Man on the Island”. Hounsou is a good actor and I like him in almost everything he does, but he’s only a very minor character in Part II….and nothing more.

FINAL THOUGHTS


Terror, suspense, and dangers lurks around every corner (and in the silence) as the Abbott family continue their journey in a fragmented post-apocalyptic world in the movie A Quiet Place Part II. Director John Krasinski’s latest film continues what he established back in his 2018 film; expanding upon the film’s world and provides plenty of new thrills and suspense for the Abbott family to encounter. There are some familiar beats and a certain type of repetitive nature in the movie that just can’t quite overtake the previous film, but this sequel still delivers plenty of thrills and suspense within its continued focus on story, characters, and sound design. Personally, I liked this movie. Sure, there are some repetitive beats from the previous entry (a part of the genetic make-up of the film’s themes / scenarios), but I kind of expected that and thoroughly enjoyed Part II a lot. Thus, my recommendation for the film is a “highly recommended” one as I’m sure fans of the first film will find this second chapter in the Quiet Place franchise to be entertaining and thrilling at the same time. As mentioned, the movie’s ending does surely suggest a strong intention for a Part III to continue / conclude the narrative of the Abbott family’s journey. So….here’s to hoping that one does greenlit in the near future. In the end, in an age of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, A Quiet Place Part II is a solid return for highly anticipated movies to return to cinema movie theaters everywhere.

4.2 Out of 5 (Highly Recommended)

 

Released On: May 28th, 2021
Reviewed On: June 12th, 2021

A Quiet Place Part II  is 97 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for terror, violence, and bloody / disturbing images

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