Director/Screenwriter: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cilian
Genres: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images
Release Date: 5/28/21
Runtime: 1h 37min
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Where to Watch: Theatres
A Quiet Place Part II is among the many theatrical releases that got postponed due to the pandemic, and is one that almost requires this kind of viewing, as opposed to the option of viewing through any number of streaming services — not that there’s anything really wrong with streaming, but this film is one with such excellent sound design and thrilling scenes that would make it difficult to appreciate its technical qualities on a smaller screen. I lucked out and ended up being the only one in the theater, so I didn’t have to worry about people chewing or making other noises that would take away from the experience.
The bulk of the action in this sequel takes place immediately where A Quiet Place ended, although the opening, pre-title sequence takes the viewer on a flashback, to right when the creatures arrived and [first film SPOILER ALERT] John Krasinski’s character was still alive. This ends up being the most interesting part of the movie, as it provides some much-needed background information on the events leading up to the creatures’ arrival, even if it’s not as comprehensive as I would’ve liked. These scenes also show the family lead by real-life couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt pre-apocalypse, and the town in which they called home. The sound design in these scenes, too, is quite excellent, and the way they are shot is proof that Krasinski is a talented director (he also wrote the script this time around).
I will see that it was a little distracting, at times — especially during the flashback scenes — to see young actors Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds play characters who are the same age (or younger), when they have obviously aged since the filming of the first film. It would have been pointless to replace them with different actors, which would’ve been even more distracting, so I can’t fault the film for something that affects every movie/TV franchise with child actors (I’m looking at you, Glee, Harry Potter). Plus, both Jupe and Simmonds are extraordinarily gifted young performers who I hope go on to bigger and better things.
On that note, Jupe, Simmonds, Blunt, and Cilian Murphy (who gives a surprisingly nuanced performance), are all great. They all get their moments to shine, although Blunt’s performance is much of the same one she gives in the first one (that’s mostly a good thing). However, she doesn’t get any scenes equivalent to the one from the first film in which she silently gives birth in a bathtub. The one who finally gets the chance to shine here is Simmonds, and it’s wonderful to see a deaf actor given so much to do and be such a central part of the narrative. She has some really great scenes with Murphy, whose character is dealing with his own losses. Even though I didn’t always agree with or believe in the choices that the characters were making, both Simmonds and Murphy are convincing in their roles.
The film’s pacing is quite good, too, and its relatively brief runtime makes the slow, quiet scenes all the more effective. The deliberate, often-quick editing also helps with the pacing. Its principal faults lie in the script and in the story, which isn’t all that substantial to justify the sequel’s existence. That said, if this story is meant to be a trilogy and this film is merely a stepping stone to the third and final film, then it’s okay if this one isn’t as tofu-y (the vegan version of “meaty”) as it might need to be in order to stand on its own. In that case, I’m excited to see how the trilogy ends, and if there will end up being a noticeable, believable arc for the main characters. I realize that Krasinski and the original writing duo weren’t planning on a sequel(s), so perhaps the first film was meant to stand on its own.
All in all, A Quiet Place Part II succeeds in essentially copying what it accomplished in the first film: thrilling horror with a unique premise and excellent sound design/editing. Obviously, if you were a fan of what the first film accomplished, then you’ll most likely be a fan of this one, unless you were expecting something different — in that case, you may be disappointed.