Film Review: ‘A Quiet Place: Part II’

To say A Quiet Place was one of the most surprising and impressive films of 2018 would be an understatement. That original film was not only unique; it was also one of the few horror films with which I’ve been able to connect emotionally. As a result, the announcement of the follow-up in review made me a bit weary. Why mess with near subgenre perfection? What if a sequel proved the premise to be a one-trick pony? But, of course, A Quiet Place‘s grossing nearly $350 million at the worldwide box office on a modest $17 million production budget demands a sequel—a sequel which, like many other movies, has been long delayed by COVID-19.

Initially slated for release in March of last year, A Quiet Place: Part II finally hit theater and drive-in screens this past weekend to impressive audience turnout with all things considered. The sequel picks up shortly after the events of its predecessor and finds The Abbott’s on the move in the apocalyptic landscape. Eventually, the remaining family members make contact with their friend from the before times as it were- Emmett (Cillian Murphy). After pleading with him, Emmett begrudgingly takes in The Abbott’s temporarily. However, a series of incidents soon forces the unit to separate. As a result, Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) and Emmett leave their relative safety to get help. At the same time, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt), her son Marcus (Noah Jupe), and the baby remain in hiding from the audibly sensitive creatures.

I’ll go ahead and say this upfront – I underestimated much of this sequel’s potential. Like its predecessor, A Quiet Place: Part II is exceptionally well-directed by John Krasinski, who’s once again pulling triple duty as writer/director/actor. In doing so, he delivers a taut and often emotional picture. As a result, this sequel makes for an exciting and touching night at the movies. Moreover, this sequel justifies its existence in its thesis. That being the importance of the bond between not only biological but surrogate family as well. Family units of which are all once again wonderfully portrayed by a cast with an emotional poignancy, I’ve not seen in the genre since Hereditary (2018), which was released mere months after the original Quiet Place.

However, for everything this second installment does so well, it can’t help but have some issues for one simple reason. A Quiet Place: Part II is a sequel in every sense. Thus, its world, and the stakes and characters within it frankly, feel somewhat diluted this time around. A prime example is that there are events in the film that could become genuinely dreadful. Alas, we know punches will be pulled because this is indeed a PG-13 movie distributed by a major studio in Paramount Pictures. It also doesn’t help that this sequel is very set-piece driven, which doesn’t seem to leave as much room for the characters as I would have liked. Well, with the notable exception of Simmonds, who, yet again, proves to be Oscar-worthy in her role. She does more with little-to-no dialogue than most actors could do with pages of wonderful lines.

Of course, this sequel’s most significant issue is that it’s clearly the second part of an apparently intended trilogy. Now, while there can be wholly satisfying second acts in trilogies such as The Godfather, Part II (1974), Spider-Man 2 (2004), or The Dark Knight (2008). Sadly, though, the movie in review is not one of these. On the contrary, A Quiet Place: Part II cuts itself short after proving its thesis and necessary existence as a sequel. Even still, this is certainly a film worth watching if you’re so inclined; just expect somewhat diminishing returns. 

A Quiet Place: Part II is now playing only in theaters.

 

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