‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is ‘A Quiet Place’ on Steroids
Sequels, particularly those that follow a unicorn that both critics and audiences heaped praise upon, are tricky. Whether it’s because it was rushed to capitalize on the success of the original, or it’s too similar to the original, it’s too different from the original, or it’s just not that good, high expectations are often unmet.
For every ‘Godfather: Part II’ there’s a ‘Mannequin Two: On the Move.’
Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) brave the unknown in ‘A Quiet Place Part II.’ (Photo by Jonny Cournoyer. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved)
With that in mind, it appears that John Krasinski’s follow-up to 2018’s ‘A Quiet Place’ leans more Michael Corleone than it does Hollywood Montrose … but much bigger, much louder, and with more blind, human-annihilating creatures.
After a show-stealing flashback to the moments immediately before and after the creatures’ earthly takeover, ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ brings us back to present day where the Abbott family – Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and the seemingly unnamed baby – is reeling from the events of the first movie, and mourning the death of the family patriarch, Lee (Krasinski).
With their home, food, and supplies destroyed – and with more creatures (probably) on the way – the family is growing desperate and quickly running out of feasible options to stave off death. That is until Regan spots a fire in the distance. Armed with a shotgun and ammo; Regan’s hearing aid and a jerry rigged boombox to amplify the high-pitched noise that keeps the creatures at bay; and a soundproof crate for Baby No-Name, the family sets out to find the source of the fire, and hopefully their refuge.
Their ensuing journey finds them crossing paths with the jaded, yet useful, Emmett (Cillian Murphy); an unknown entity that only communicates through the mostly dead airwaves; and tales of what a post-creature civilization has devolved into outside of the reasonably sheltered reality Lee and Evelyn built for their family.
Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Emmett (Cillian Murphy) brave the unknown in ‘A Quiet Place Part II.’ (Photo by Jonny Cournoyer. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved)
My feelings about ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ are pretty similar to my feelings about its predecessor – there are some parts that are brilliant, and there others that are rather ho-hum, and those add up to a good but not great film. If pressed to compare, I’d say this one is marginally better than the first.
What are those brilliant parts? Well, that aforementioned flashback for one.
We start off with the most everyday small-town Americana scene you can imagine: a little league baseball game. Lee eats an apple while Evelyn teases him about his tardiness. Regan teases him because his hands are too dirty to cut up oranges for Marcus and his teammates. Friends and neighbors discuss the game and shout encouragement to their team … and then from out of nowhere, the s#@t hits the fan.
It’s reminiscent of Part I where we started with the Abbott family – already living in silence and fear of creature attacks – politely raiding a pharmacy before heading home and having their then-youngest child fall victim to one of the creatures thanks to a toy spaceship.
The stark difference between those milquetoast day-to-day activities and the immediate, from-out-of-nowhere hellscape drew me into Part I and it drew me in even further into Part II.
Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in ‘A Quiet Place Part II.’ (Photo by Jonny Cournoyer. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved)
The final act is also incredibly strong. As was the case in Part I, the action gets turned up to 11 in the final act, and we’re again given an ending that leaves you wanting more, but could be considered satisfying enough if the powers that be decide another installment isn’t necessary.
The ho-hum comes in the middle of the film, where there’s a lot going on, but not much seems to happen. The pace slows dramatically, which is understandable, as it would be nearly impossible to sustain the breakneck pace of Act I, and Act III would likely be less impactful if it did. That said, I would’ve liked to see the story fleshed out more – some more backstory of the creatures, of the Abbotts, of the ancillary characters – and this would’ve been the perfect place for that to happen.
The recommendation I will make is this: if you are comfortable going to a theater right now, do it.
‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is louder than its predecessor and you see more of the creatures than the last time around. I’m not a “theater atmosphere” makes everything better person, but for this situation it really does.
★★★1/2 of ★★★★★