TL;DR – It builds upon the world in interesting ways, and when it focuses on Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, it becomes thrilling.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
A Quiet Place Part II Review –
The first A Quiet Place was a film that caught me off guard as I got sucked into this world. It is a time where every sound might not be your last, but you need to live as if it could be. Is that twig snap going to get you, or a misplaced nail, or a yelp in pain. It was such an interesting contained film that when I heard they were doing a sequel, I was intrigued about where they could take the story next and a little concerned that they could not strike lightning twice. Now that I have seen it, I don’t think it hits either of those extremes, but when it is good, it is really good.
So to set the scene, we open in on Day 1. Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) were out in town on a lovely sunny summers day. They’ve gone to town to watch Marcus (Noah Jupe) play in his big baseball game. But as he goes up to bat, a large comet/meteor/something is seen falling through the sky. The family feel something is off, so they and the rest of the town start making their way home when the alien start their attack. Back at Day 474, we find the family in the immediate aftermath of the first film. However, there is no time to stop and celebrate their win or mourn their loss because the house and farm are destroyed, and they need to find some new shelter before the aliens come to finish them off.
One of the film’s strengths was its opening that brought you right back into the world by highlighting everything that was about to go wrong. We get snippets of something going horribly wrong in Shanghai, but no one has any idea what is coming right at them. This opening worked as almost a reverse of the first film’s opening, where the quiet was unsettling, but here it is all the sound. Sure, you have the obvious things of dogs barking and cars honking their horns. But for me, it was the simple fact of someone eating an apple which was enough to raise the hairs on the back of my neck.
As everyone has to leave the protection of the valley they had been living in, this is the first time that we have seen the wider world. In the first film, everything was empty but sanitized, almost as if the parents went through and hid all the bodies before the kids were allowed to come into the town. But not so as the venture further out in the New York countryside. The film does an excellent job, on the whole, creating this world with some good set dressing and location scouting. For example, the use of ruined industrial facilities very much hit the tone the film was going for. There are some moments where things are a little too clean for a post-apocalyptic world that had been in complete decline for over a year. But that is only a minor thing.
There are some moments of tonal inconsistency with the story, but they are always fixed when the film shifts back to focussing on Millicent Simmonds & Noah Jupe. The character of Marcus is not having a good day at all, and all that pain and fear is etched across Noah’s face. I felt and believed every moment of it. Millicent Simmonds has become the lead actor in the sequel, which might be the best choice the film made. She owns every moment on screen through her performance. Hers is the drive that gets the film from the start to the end and makes you want to see more in this world.
In support, we have Emily Blunt back as now the only support for her family in a cruel and dangerous world. Because this film starts directly after the end of the last, something I think I have only really seen in the John Wick series in recent years. It means the grief of losing a father, husband, and home is authentic and immediate for all involved. Evelyn’s story explores all of that as she has to process that grief while still needing to move forward or everyone dies. As well as this, we have Cillian Murphy as Emmett, someone the family knows from the before time who has had a much worse time than everyone else. He knows what the world is like outside of the valley, but thanks to Cillian being able to express everything even with just a little slot of his eyes showing, it makes his emotional journey land.
While I did like the film as a whole, I did walk away with some ‘hmmm’ moments that were not there for me in the first film. There were a couple of moments in the story where I am not sure the film knew where it wanted to go with its tone. While the way it deals with showing sound or not is about on par as the first film, we have seen movies like Sound of Metal that has done it better, and it would have been good to see them evolve that a bit more. Finally, it did feel a little uncomfortable that they introduced several non-white characters, only to kill them off.
In the end, do we recommend A Quiet Place Part II? Yes, yes, we do. I don’t think it hit as hard as the first film did for me. But it was still a powerful entry in the series once it finds its feet and knows what it wants to be. If you liked A Quiet Place Part II, I would also recommend to you Love and Monsters.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of A Quiet Place Part II
Directed by – John Krasinski
Written by – John Krasinski
Based on – Characters created by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck
Music by – Marco Beltrami
Cinematography by – Polly Morgan
Edited by – Michael P. Shawver
Production/Distribution Companies – Platinum Dunes & Paramount Pictures
Starring – Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Okieriete Onaodowan, Scoot McNairy, Zachary Golinger, Blake DeLong, Gary Sundown, Stefanie Warnick, Alice Sophie Malyukova, Dean Woodward & John Krasinski
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 15; United States: PG-13