A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Review

When I first watched A Quiet Place three years ago, I figured that John Krasinski’s minimalist sci-fi horror settled itself just fine as a one-off movie. And yet, here we are as the inevitable sequel happens, thanks to the first film’s better-than-expected box office result.

The sequel — simply titled A Quiet Place Part II — picks up where the first film left off, with the surviving Abbott family (Emily Blunt’s Evelyn, Millicent Simmonds’ Regan, Noah Jupe’s Marcus and Evelyn’s newborn baby) are now leaving the farm to look for another shelter. En route, they stumble upon an old friend of the family, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) after he rescues them from an alien attack and lay low beneath an abandoned steel mill. The film is then subsequently told in a parallel storyline, beginning with Regan’s quest to track down the clue related to the repeated radio broadcast of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”. Evelyn, in the meantime, risks herself stepping out of the steel mill to grab some medical supplies in town.

John Krasinski is again in charge of writing and directing here and he continues to show his visual prowess and expertly-timed suspense, as evidently seen during the prologue detailing the attack of the aliens on the first day. I must say the prologue itself is a masterclass of filmmaking (love the tracking shot) with all the gradual buildup leading to a visceral, yet exciting payoff. It was easily the most thrilling and even the best sequence in this sequel. Subsequent setpieces may have been pale in comparison to the prologue but Krasinski still manages to offer a few effective moments throughout its reasonably lean 97-minute film. At one point, he even successfully stages a brief but effective jump scare that I didn’t see it coming.

Millicent Simmonds and Cillian Murphy in "A Quiet Place Part II" (2021)

A Quiet Place Part II is also blessed with a bigger budget and it shows, particularly how the sequel emphasises more on the full appearance of the spider-like alien creatures as well as some of the larger setpieces (the small town-set prologue is among the prime examples). The special effects are decent enough and Krasinski knows well how to ratchet up the tension as usual with the clever uses of silence, sound design and Marco Beltrami’s riveting score. And just like the first film, A Quiet Place Part II is best experienced on the big screen in terms of its visual and sound alone.

While I enjoyed all the technical aspects of this sequel, Krasinski doesn’t really do much to distinguish his storyline between the first and second films. I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu experience upon watching the sequel. It’s more of the same as he chooses to stick to the formula, even though we get to learn some minor new details about the aliens. I mean, given a bigger budget at his disposal, I suppose Krasinski should have pushed his storytelling craft further from his comfort zone.

The acting is a mixed bag, with Millicent Simmonds surprisingly stealing most of the show this time around as the deaf Regan. Franchise newcomer Cillian Murphy is a nice addition but I’m kind of surprised that Emily Blunt, who plays the now-widowed Evelyn, is largely sidelined in this sequel, even though she received top billing in this sequel. Not to mention her character is more passive than proactive, which in turn, a missed opportunity to make her an unlikely tough female protector. Blunt clearly deserves better here and I’m not sure whether Krasinski is deliberately doing this to subvert our usual expectations commonly seen in such a sequel.

A Quiet Place Part II may lack the overall effectiveness of the first film but as far as a sequel goes, it contains enough edge-of-the-seat thrills to satisfy most genre fans.

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