31st May2021

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski, Scoot McNairy | Written and Directed by John Krasinski

The terrifying monsters are back in writer-director John Krasinski’s sequel to the 2018 hit, in which humans have to stay very, very quiet to avoid being eaten. Krasinski’s accomplished follow-up duly serves up more of the same, keeping tension high and delivering plenty of scares.

Given that the first film began approximately 90 days into the creature-based apocalypse, Krasinski takes the opportunity to rewind to Day 1 and show us the moment the terrifying monsters first arrived. Shrewdly, this also gives Krasinski a chance to get some acting in, since his character didn’t make it to the end of the first movie.

The resulting prelude sequence is terrific, serving as a renewed character introduction to the Abbott family – steely mum Evelyn (Emily Blunt), pre-teen son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and hearing-impaired daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) – and busting out some heart-thumping set-pieces early on, not least a sequence requiring Evelyn to drive a car in reverse at high speed.

Thereafter, A Quiet Place Part II flashes forward to Day 474, the day after the previous film ended. With Lee (Kraskinski) gone, Evelyn, Regan and Marcus take the decision to leave their home and attempt to find civilisation, after spying smoke plumes on the horizon. Along the way, they run into Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old friend of the family who has also managed to survive, and he agrees to accompany Regan as she heads off on her own mission, convinced that a community of survivors have made a home on a nearby island. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Marcus hole up in an industrial silo and stay behind to look after the newborn baby, whose every cry could spell sudden death.

The performances are, once again, terrific. Blunt exudes grim determination as Evelyn and Murphy proves a suitably different replacement for Krasinski (he’s had his own share of trauma), while Jupe does a terrific job of conveying Marcus as a terrified boy who’s had adulthood forced upon him.

However, it’s Simmonds who emerges as the film’s real star and Krasinksi allows her a generous portion of screentime in which to shine. As a result, she’s utterly captivating, playing Regan as resourceful, optimistic, cool-headed, bold and vulnerable all at once.

The central gimmick of the first film was that it forced cinema audiences to remain absolutely silent, hardly daring to breathe, in line with the characters on screen. Krasinski pulls off the same trick again here, creating an extremely tense atmosphere, though there’s nothing quite as nail-biting as that set-piece with, well, the nail, in the first movie.

As for the monsters themselves, they’re in full view this time (they were mostly obscured by darkness in the first film), but no less scary, thanks to some top notch effects work that highlights their freakishly fast movements. As a side note, it’s a little odd that the human characters haven’t yet come up with a collective name for the creatures – they’ve had 474 days!

Throughout A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski keeps things moving at a decent pace and orchestrates a handful of effective suspense sequences. However, there is the occasional fumble, most notably during an ambitious attempt at cross-cutting between three parallel stories, which ultimately doesn’t quite work, lessening the tension instead of heightening it.

It’s fair to say, too, that A Quiet Place Part II isn’t entirely without its logic problems, but if the success of the first film proved anything, it’s that audiences were clearly prepared to accept the various inconsistencies in return for having the bejesus scared out of them. Still, if that sort of thing annoys you, brace yourself for an egregious example early on, when the aliens first arrive and a sheltering crowd of humans are all instantly deathly silent, instead of loudly screaming “What the HELL’S that?” at each other.

**** 4/5

A Quiet Place Part II previews in UK cinemas from today, May 31st. The films goes nationwide on June 3rd.


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