Set mere moments after the dramatic events of A Quiet Place, our sequel sees the Abbott family leave the broken sanctuary of their farm behind in the hopes of finding someplace better. Along the way they encounter an old family friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy), and it soon becomes apparent that the monsters that fell from the sky are not the only ones to be afraid of.
As the world expands, our story branches out, and the Abbot family splits apart as each attempts to do their part to keep everyone alive. Although the back and forth between characters gets a smidge tedious in a couple of places, the new narrative structure works well overall. By switching between each family member the audience is kept in a constant state of dread, Krasinski jumping the narrative from scene to scene just as things start to get perilous. Somehow he maintains the same elevation of anxiety for the duration meaning that the audience never has the opportunity to become bored, or more importantly, get a break from the onslaught of dangers. The trick also works at immersing the viewer fully into the world, instantly investing them back in the plight of the Abbott family, and ensuring that your heart begins to pound.
A Quiet Place was a sensation upon release, the film beginning commended for its confidence to rely on near silence to tell an entire film. The sequel follows that same magic formula, but also raises the stakes by filling itself with plenty of action pieces. With the first film tied to the single location of the farm, the story was all about building up to the big finale. This time around, with several of the characters in constant motion, the audience is treated to a steady onslaught of deadly encounters. Kransinski hasn’t quite gone full Aliens in his shake up, but definitely pumps more action-packed suspense driven thrills than the first time around. These moments begin immediately with the film opening back on Day one of the invasion. Glimpses of this sequence are found within the trailers, but when watched together, the flashback alone is as strong as any of its action film rivals. Eagle eyed viewers will also spy a couple of little callbacks to the opening of the first movie, as both occur in the same locations. It’s simply a shot here and there, a slight lingering look at a toy rocket on the shelf being the biggest nod, but these little details not only enrich the reality of the world, they also enhance the viewing experience for those that are familiar with the first movie.
After this epic opening we are thrust straight out into the dangerous world and Krasinki has an arsenal of traps and scares up his sleeve to make even the most steely nerved viewer become unsettled. Every set-piece’s tension levels are cranked to one hundred as each has to take place in silence. Honestly, the anxiety induced by something as straight-forward as stepping one foot on another is incredible, and though Krasinski is still relatively new to the directing arena, he clearly has a very bright future.
Back in 2018 some comparisons were made between A Quiet Place and video game The Last of Us, and those similarities won’t be fading anytime soon. Last time around the discussions were mainly around how aspects of the creature design were reminiscent of the games enemies, the Clickers, and whilst that look remains, A Quiet Place Part II also borrows from the game’s narrative. Regan and Emmett’s story strand, though entirely different, hits enough of the same beats as Joel and Ellie dynamic that, when combined with the desolate world setting and similarly dangerous monsters, may leave some feeling short-changed.
The cast is once again excellent, Millicent Simmonds once more proving that she is a rising star to pay attention to. As Regan, she ventures out on her own this time around and we get much more time to see what Simmonds is capable of; it’s beautiful to behold this much talent in someone so young in years. Noah Jupe’s Marcus is also afforded some further development, though does cause some of the (silent) screaming at the screen from the viewer. Emily Blunt takes a step back this time so that her younger counterparts can have their moments to shine, but during her time on screen, she once again radiates fierce and primal maternal instinct and drive. This is one mother you do not want to mess with. Our core cast is rounded out by new addition Cillian Murphy who slots almost seamlessly into the setting and is as consistent as ever.
An intense anxiety inducing nightmare, A Quiet Place Part II will shred your nerves to pieces. A sequel that builds upon the foundation previously laid, A Quiet Place Part II raises the stakes whilst still retaining its emotional core, and further asserts John Krasinksi as a director to watch.
A Quiet Place II is available to own now.
This review first appeared on THN.