‘A QUIET PLACE PART II’
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Directed by John Krasinski | Released 3 June 2021 | Runtime: 1h 37min
A brilliant welcome back to the Cinema 👏🏼
Showcasing an array of tension, emotionally charged performances and nerve-wracking scares, director and writer John Krasinski delivers another exemplary piece of horror filmmaking in this eagerly anticipated sequel.
A Quiet Place Part II invites viewers back into the world of its predecessor, where silence is the key to staying alive. This time though, Krasinski goes full throttle, ramping up the intensity, blockbuster-style-action, and the pace. Believe it or not, there’s also a little more noise too.
It goes without saying that A Quiet Place Part II is the ultimate welcome back to the Cinema, with its key theme firmly setting up audiences across the world to go along with the ride. The long silences on screen means there’s absolutely no room to chomp on your popcorn or whisper to your friend, and this makes for wonderful viewing.
For my first experience back at the Cinema post-UK-lockdown, I couldn’t have picked a better flick; the audience was as still and quiet as ever, with pure fear radiating throughout the room.
A Quiet Place Part II virtually picks up where the last film left off, with a surprise opening shot that takes us back to day one. We didn’t get much background in the first film and although this still isn’t developed much in the second, what we do get is an incredible action-packed, terrifying, and immersive sequence that shows the Abbot’s first experience with the alien creatures.
Over a year before the events of the first film, a town baseball game turns into a fight for survival as a flaming object bolts towards the Earth; panic ensues and the creature’s ability to track victims is further showcased. The opening is a heart-stopping and wickedly fun scene, as intended by the filmmakers. The audience have one up on the unsuspecting victims – you’ll find yourself begging for them to catch on to the alien’s hypersensitive hearing, and criticising their every (loud) move.
⛔️ SPOILERS AHEAD ⛔️
We knew from the first film that the casting was at the top of its game. Emily Blunt is an epic badass when it comes to fighting for her family’s survival, and her character, Evelyn, is tested more both physically and emotionally in the sequel, so her maternal urge is fiercer than ever. The best thing about Blunt is how she strikes the perfect balance in Evelyn; she allows her to be a protector but doesn’t shy away from being scared out of her mind. Even the weariness she exudes in just one look makes a very fictional film feel rather believable, especially when you compare it to some other horrors that push the Final Girl (*a slasher horror trope and refers to the last woman alive to confront the killer/terror. It’s often predictable and used to excess) trope too far.
Just like in the prequel, Millicent Simmonds is an incredible force to watch. Regan has much more of the lead story this time round and I found myself in awe of how Simmonds handled her character’s journey; she is effortlessly able to convey a deep pain onto the screen, often crying from the terror, whilst somehow, simultaneously being the symbol of hope and determination for finishing what her father started. Simmonds is very tender and powerful at the same time, and I’m sure we can expect many more good things to come from her.
Much of the same can be said for Noah Jupe, as Marcus’ character certainly goes through enough trials and tribulations to test the best of us. Marcus is the most tender member of the family and is less able to hide his fear; quite frankly, his survival instincts are the weakest and he’s the last person you’d want to put your trust in to survive. Jupe is a young master of conveying such terror and panic, and his emotional scenes have a level of intensity that almost outshines his co-stars. Jupe again adds a whole new dimension to the film, making it feel believable and leaving you on edge as you await to find out the fate of his character – you just won’t be able to help cover your eyes when Evelyn leaves him in charge.
Of course, there’s a Krasinski shaped hole after the fate of Lee in the final moments of A Quiet Place. When he does feature, he’s a warm reminder of everything we love about the Abbot family and his character. Lee is smart thinking and humanity is what’s at his core, but he’s not afraid to go full Jack Ryan if it means running for his life.
Luckily for us, that gap is filled by the diverse talents of Cillian Murphy. Murphy is as intense as ever as Emmett, a mysterious and lost soul of a man. Full of woe and weariness, Emmett is a hard man to judge and it takes a while to work out what side he’s on, which really intensifies the anxiousness you’ll feel throughout the film. You could say Emmett is the most human one of all, and to no surprise, Murphy gives his all. The only criticism here is how much more of Emmett I wanted to see compared to what I got – I was very invested in Murphy’s performance, and his character’s backstory, so Krasinski, if ever you want to do a spin off then the floor is yours…
A Quiet Place Part II expands its world and kicks the fear up a notch through fantastic cinematography. Krasinski and cinematographer Polly Morgan are a dream team for horror, embracing new environments as they both overtly and subtly orchestrate tension. From chaotic car chases where the viewer is thrust into the driver’s seat with a point-of-view shot, to claustrophobic furnaces, abandoned train carriages, all the way up to an eerie shot of high heels on a platform – every take is fuelled with so much consideration, care, and subliminal meanings that trap you into frantically looking for where the danger may be, even if at times, our characters are supposedly safe.
It’s this consistent build up of apprehension that makes the film so successful, and enjoyable. Not forgetting how beautiful some of the scenes look and feel, especially when Krasinski adds in a number of visual callbacks that bring you right back to where it all started. Take the moment that Evelyn covers Marcus’ mouth to stop him from screaming, just as Lee once did – if that’s not enough to pull on your heart strings then what is?
Speaking of emotions, it’s worth mentioning that I saw a 4DX screening of A Quiet Place II, so it’s no wonder I felt such a huge part of it, as I too, was thrust out of my chair into a car chase, and punched in the head numerous times by the aliens. An experience to say the least!
It’s not often we can say a horror sequel was just as good as the first, and that’s when you know Krasinski has once again nailed it. Here’s hoping that the recently announced plans for a third installment in 2023 will follow suit.
A Quiet Place II is available to watch in Cinemas only. Go and see it where it’s made to be seen, and enjoy your theatre experience.