'A Quiet Place Part II' Review: Silence Is Golden In John Krasinski's Horror Sequel With Emily Blunt
Get your popcorn ready and then throw 'em out because surely you aren't going to eat them during A Quiet Place Part II? Right? You better not. A follow-up to the 2018's suspense horror film, this time also penned by first one's director and star John Krasinski (playing Lee, the dad), takes the word sequel seriously and continues the story of the Abbott family immediately after the tragic ending. Sure there is also a stylish prologue which depicts the first day that the creatures arrived to the Earth, then it's off to follow mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the newborn baby as they leave their home to look for other survivors. They eventually find Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an acquaintance of Lee who has lost his family, who then helps the Abbotts fend off attacking creatures before joining them to find others.
In terms of the filmmaking going on, the sequel manages to flesh out the world much better in nearly every way, from more expanded sets to gnarlier visual effects applied to the creatures. Still, what makes these movies work as well as they do are the actors, there isn't a single person from the main cast that doesn't deliver. Blunt was the standout in the first one and gets to do a bit more physical stuff here and Jupe manages to sell the stakes of the film with his agonising screams, even when the character is used as a device. Part II is however Simmonds and Murphy's movie from front to back. Simmonds manages to carry the emotional weight with subtle looks even while obviously communicating with sign language, this all combined with the fact that she is able to match Murphy's delicate intonation and body language in every scene with her own strengths. Their journey together is the strongest one of all to watch.
As we get closer to the final conclusion, there are three separate stories happening that editor Michael P. Shawver cuts in and out from seamlessly, a feat that many movies can't manage. You'd just wish that it was coupled with exceptional sound (editing here is great, design and mix not so much) because this of all movies should showcase that.
Part of that comes down to Krasinski's overdirecting which disregards tension in favour of creating drama out of nothing. It's troubling that we are two movies deep and we still have no idea about the rules of this world (level of volume, pitch, distractions etc. aren't clear), only made worse when Krasinski uses Marcus in dumb ways to have a chase sequence despite establishing their street smarts in other scenes. That overdirecting translates also to scenes with other characters acting with Murphy where the rhythm of their dialogue are from two different films, as in Murphy is in A Quiet Place and others are in your typical drama. Part II I would say is tighter and more visually striking than the first one but there is so much potential wasted for no good reason.
Smileys: Editing, sound editing, performance by a cast, sound mixing
Frowneys: Some issues with directing and dialogue
Surely they just need to find a librarian to hang out with and they'll be safe for eternity?