“A Quiet Place Part II” is one of those rare occasions where a sequel to a surprise hit actually does justice to the original. Writer, Director, and actor John Krasinski (of “The Office” fame), returns once again, but only in an opening flashback sequence (after his untimely demise at the end of the first film), before he settles back behind the camera. When the first film came out in 2018, it was an immediate hit, with an excellently crafted story about an alien invasion by a species with superhuman-levels of hearing (although blind otherwise). Sitting in a theater with everyone holding their breath was no small feat.
In the latest installment, after a brief flashback showing the day the aliens first arrived on earth, picks back up immediately following the events of the first film (so much so that the fire is still burning at the farm). From there the Abbott family chooses to pick up and head out without the family patriarch Lee (Krasinski), as mother Evelyn (played by Emily Blunt), their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Evelyn’s newborn baby as they abandon the farm towards a beacon fire on a distant hilltop.
One challenge for “Part II” is that by the end of the first film, we know what the creatures look like, and their strengths and weaknesses. So there’s little horror left since the curtain has already effectively been pulled back. But Krasinski is able to still spin together an effective level of tension both from the need to keep so utterly quiet as well as being all too aware that the creatures will come running at the slightest disturbance. So as with many horror sequels, it becomes more a straight thriller, but there are still plenty of jump scares and moments to make the audience squirm.
Related: “A Quiet Place Part II” Still Hitting Theaters This Month!
While the film was originally slated to release over a year ago, it plays all the more relevant today, with various survivors having to deal with their self-induced isolation and personal loss, and making the choice to work with others, or to go it alone. Isolated individuals or small communities making their choices about their level of safety against the dangers that lurk in the world. In the film it’s aliens, but it could as well be a near-analog for our year in the pandemic.
Seeing it in a theater with an audience heightens the experience beyond what one will readily find at home, because with the audience waiting for any little sound to betray either the humans or the aliens, it’s to the point of being able to hear a pin drop. When you realize you’re amongst a theater full (at least as full as health department guidelines allow for at the moment in your area) of people who are all as tense and waiting for the next shoe to drop, it reminds us of the charm that a theater can still hold for us all.
“A Quiet Place Part II” is rated PG-13 and is playing in theaters everywhere that theaters are currently open.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars
A Quiet Place Part II