‘A Quiet Place’ has become the go-to movie I recommend to anyone who is looking for a clever, terrifying and entertaining film. It is always a genuine treat seeing how people react to the out-of-the-box experience this movie provides. It’s also very uncommon to find yourself getting emotional during a horror movie only to become terrified again a few moments later. In fact, it’s become this franchise’s speciality. As a massive fan of the first movie, having a sequel that executes the strengths of the first movie just as effectively is something that I will never take for granted. Just like its predecessor, ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is a masterclass of tension and suspense.
SPOILERS FOR ‘A QUIET PLACE’ AND ‘A QUIET PLACE PART II’ ARE FEATURED IN THIS REVIEW.
From the moment the ominous score by Marco Beltrami opens the movie, there is an instilled sense of tension placed upon the audience. There is already an immense sense of dread of what’s to come. The first movie did such a fantastic job getting us to care for this family that watching this incredible opening scene made it feel all the more tragic. This is easily one of my favourite movie openings ever. It’s actually quite ironic though since I loved the ‘less is more’ approach to the creatures in the first movie. In this sequel, however, the opening scene details the creatures’ arrival to Earth and the instant destruction that followed. Krasinski and his crew made several specific decisions that enhanced not only the scene but the overall message of the movie. It’s truly a brilliant opening. The decision to set the opening scene in a quaint, nostalgic small American town served an incredible contrast to the world we’ve known prior. The decision to put the Abbott family at a baseball game, introducing that warm, nostalgic innocence was also another conscious and effective decision. There is an element of innocence being lost when tragedy strikes because we are experiencing everything from this family’s point of view and their behaviour speaks volumes. Lee and Evelyn are constantly trying to reassure and protect their children which is a beautiful parallel to the beautiful ending. Even amidst the terrors this world has to present, family is at the forefront of the movie.
This is one of the rare cases where I genuinely feared that every scene these characters were in would be their last. The creatures have such an overwhelmingly large presence that you rarely ever feel safe enough to let your guard down. The first movie’s opening scene lingers over this franchise so effectively. The rules were set and the threat was established. ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ matches the incredibly devastating tone despite its rather hopeful ending. Naturally, the story expands the world set up in the first movie and we get a better sense of the situation outside of the Abbott family. Anytime a large group of humans are on-screen, a literal massacre occurs whether it’s the opening scene or the tragic island massacre in the third act, these creatures are truly brutal. That being said, the overwhelming sense of loss goes beyond the on-screen deaths. After Lee’s death, the Abbott family is left broken with little to no time at all to properly grieve. This is a world where grieving is a luxury. In a heartbreaking scene, Evelyn risks her safety to go put up pictures of Lee on her late son’s grave. It’s the only time we ever see her properly grieve her husband as she has to continuously put on a strong face for her children. Krasinski’s ability to elevate the message of the first movie with this sequel is truly a stroke of genius.
Despite only being in the movie for a short portion of the movie, Krasinski uses his role to further add to the familial themes. He brings such an immediate sense of love and care for his children. He symbolizes the first movie’s message in the sense that he sacrificed himself to protect his children. It is then that the children have to step up. Their parents cannot keep sheltering them from the literal evil of this world even if they wanted to. The loss of innocence and the necessity that these kids grow up faster than they should is heavily incorporated into this movie. These movies act as a symbol of reciprocation in the sense that this family will protect each other, no matter what. The first movie belonged to the parents but the sequel is very much the children’s movie. Marcus and Regan are incredible here. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe have incredibly bright futures. You never looked at them and thought how impressive their acting was, you fully believe that this is an actual family going through this horrible situation. When these movies get you to care so much for this family, the horror comes naturally. Krasinski himself, even stated how he built the horror around the family and characters and it has proven very effective. These movies are physically and emotionally exhausting. The tension is genuinely unbearable at times. Krasinski has crafted yet another relentless hour and a half. That being said, this sequel ironically bit more off than it could chew, specifically with the feral human sub-plot.
This franchise has been compared a lot to ‘The Last of Us’ and other apocalyptic media. I however see an immense amount of parallels to the hit anime, ‘Attack On Titan’. Both of these stories have incredible characters, a great amount of tension and suspense and fantastic antagonists. However, the one area where AOT surpasses this movie is the antagonistic humans. The main conflict of this movie was teased as a human vs human plot. We’ve seen this many times before, it was expected. However, this movie rushes that concept in a scene that felt incredibly disconnected from the rest of the movie. This is a theme that should’ve been explored in a third movie because it simply had no place here, even more so since it’s a character-driven movie and we know absolutely nothing about them. The other nitpick I have is the movie’s abrupt ending. It worked in the first movie because they thought it would be a one-off situation but when making this sequel they clearly have plans for a third movie and it’s obvious by the way this movie ends. This didn’t feel like a stand-alone movie, it feels like the second part in a trilogy. It’s another ‘Back To The Future Part II’ situation where each movie bleeds into one another. Again it’s more of a nitpick than a flaw.
Overall, I am glad to say that once the credits started rolling and the title card ‘Directed and Written by John Krasinski’ came up, I felt the need to cheer. He has crafted yet another emotionally resonant and terrifying horror movie that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for days. This is a movie I cannot wait to show my friends and family. The cast is once again incredible, Emily Blunt is and will forever be iconic. Cillian Murphy was surprisingly the perfect replacement for Krasinski. I say surprisingly because I’ve never seen Murphy in anything else but I just might after this. The familial aspect is just as strong here as it is in the first movie. The scares are arguably even more sinister and tense and the creatures have a much stronger visual presence here. Overall this is a stellar second part to a very fun, very terrifying and incredibly emotional double-feature.