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A Quiet Place Part II Review

May 28, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
A QUIET PLACE Part II Image Credit: Paramount Pictures
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A Quiet Place Part II Review  

Directed By: John Krasinski
Written By: John Krasinski
Runtime: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images

Emily Blunt – Evilyn Abbott
Millicent Simmonds – Regan Abbott
Noah Jupe – Marcus Abbott
Cillian Murphy – Emmett
John Krasinski – Lee Abbott
Scoot McNairy – Marina Man
Zachary Golinger – Emmett’s Son
Djimon Hounsou – Island Man
Okieriete Onaodowan – Police Officer

After a prolonged delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, A Quiet Place Part II has finally arrived as theaters slowly begin to reopen. John Krasinski is best known for his role as Jim Halpert on TV’s The Office. His creation of such a solid horror outing in only his second film was rather shocking and unexpected. However, with A Quiet Place Part II, Krasinski has created a film with incredible suspense and an intense atmosphere that surpasses the original.

A Quiet Place Part II begins in an ingenious manner. It allows the audience to see the Abbott family living an idyllic, happy small-town life before the arrival of the film’s trademark monsters. Lee Abbott (Krasinski) is getting snacks for his family at a little league game for his son Marcus (Jupe). This scene is fantastic as it offers a look at what happened on the very first day when the monsters appeared and quickly reigned down chaos on civilization. There are only mere hints and suggestions of the creatures’ origins and how they arrived, but their origins are still largely kept as a mystery. At the end of the day, that’s a good thing because it makes the creatures that much more enigmatic and malevolent. They are nightmarish entities that have been hatched by the deepest fears of the human subconscious. They should stay that way for now.

In face of the chaos and bloodshed caused by the monsters, Lee Abbott’s survival instincts kick in to do everything he can to protect his family, which was well established by the first movie. However, Lee is gone now, and his family must fend for itself. Following the amazing prologue, Part II picks up mere minutes after the end of the last film. The Abbott family, now led by the mother Evilyn (Blunt), has to figure out the next move. Thankfully, the skills and direction offered by Lee over the last 474 days have rubbed off on them.

Not to mention, the family is now armed with the knowledge of how to fight the monsters. Using the high-frequency noises caused by Regan’s (Simmonds) hearing aid drives them crazy and causes them to expose the protective armor around their heads, leaving vulnerable organs exposed. However, the knowledge of the creatures’ weakness does not make them any less dangerous; nor does it make it safer for the Abbots to venture outside their farmhouse as they are investigating what appears to be a fire signal in a neighboring area. The Abbots are now accompanied by a newborn infant, for whom Evilyn has fashioned a makeshift soundproof box, to provide the baby with oxygen when they have to stay quiet to evade the creatures since a baby will not always stay quiet on command. Eventually, they find refuge with an old family friend, Emmett (Murphy), who has also suffered terrible losses due to the monsters.

With Lee Abbott gone, A Quiet Place Part II shifts the focus to his family, and mostly to Regan Abbott. She emerges as the stealth protagonist in the movie, and it’s her actions that drive the plot forward as Abbott searches for answers to aid in her family’s survival. Lee taught Regan lessons that have rubbed off on her, and this story provides a scenario for Regan to be more than a passive bystander in this conflict. She, and Marcus to a lesser extent, are ready to stand up and fight for their family’s survival. In Part II, Regan and Marcus truly come into their own as characters, along with their development as strong individuals.

Krasinski efficiently builds to those powerful moments where the Abbott kids find their strength and independence, and these provide some of the most powerful moments in A Quiet Place Part II. Additionally, his direction showcases a nice dichotomy between how the monsters are blind yet incredibly hypersensitive to sound, juxtaposed with Regan’s impaired hearing. There are some excellent sequences of suspense built on unique sound design to evoke someone with deafness. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe offer great performances for their characters. They are believable rather than annoying, as kids in these types of movies can sometimes be, and they display excellent vulnerability and range.

Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy also get chances to shine here as the two central adults of this story. Murphy has a strong everyman quality evocative of one of his earliest breakout roles in 2002’s 28 Days Later. He demonstrates the qualities of a good man whose life has been shattered by the presence of the creatures and is simply trying to survive on his own. Blunt, as Evilyn, displays a courageous nature to do any and everything to protect her family and a will to endure despite everything she has lost.

Also, since the creatures are so attuned to hearing and hunting through sound, most of the characters can only speak in hushed tones or whispers. The Abbott family is well-educated in communicating with ASL due to Regan’s hearing impairment. As a result, Krasinski lets the physical performances of the actors and direction tell the story, so he doesn’t use dialogue as a crutch. This eliminates the need for incessant, clunky exposition and dialogue. When the characters speak, the statements are very quick, short and efficient. Talking too much, too long or too loud could mean certain doom in the world of A Quiet Place.

Elsewhere, Krasinski does a notable job of building really tense, suspenseful moments. The scenes skillfully show how one wrong step, the slightest noise, could mean that the terrified victims are alerting the creatures of the family’s presence. This means trekking outside without shoes on makeshift paths of sand to make softer footsteps. When the tension is ramped up, the atmosphere becomes infinitely more foreboding and ominous.

The horror of A Quiet Place Part II is not really in blood and gore, but rather the intense feeling of dread for the Abbott family. The presence of Evilyn’s child and their desperation only increases that anxiety and terror.

At 100 minutes, A Quiet Place Part II is fairly lean and efficient in its runtime. The only minor complaint is that it would have been nice to see a bit more of the early days of the monsters’ arrival. However, the door is certainly left open for future stories in this world, which will hopefully happen in the future. A Quiet Place Part II leaves the audience wanting for more, unlike other so-called horror movie franchises that can’t die fast enough.

The fact that this is only Krasinski’s fourth feature film, a sequel no less, is incredible. With such exceptional work, it’s almost mind-boggling to think how much better Krasinski can get as a filmmaker with more time and experience behind the camera.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
John Krasinski appears to be improving as a director at an accelerated rate as A Quiet Place Part II is in many ways better than the original. This is a great horror movie that focuses on building dread through a sheer feeling of terror and suspense over grisly violence, blood and gore. The creatures might have certain weaknesses, but they are still dangerous and a threat. In addition, the film leaves the door open for future stories about the Abbott family, or even other parts of this world surrounding the sudden appearance of the creatures.