A Quiet Place: Part II Review: More great thrills and world-building from Krasinski
The first A Quiet Place gave horror fans a truly unique theater experience and showcased the talents of John Krasinski as a director with its silent, slow-building suspense and fresh execution. So, it’s only fitting that its sequel, Part II, is that first true theater experience as we come out of the COVID Pandemic and it ends up being a good follow-up.
The film immediately catches us up with the remaining members of the Abbot family after they kill one of the creatures using audio feedback from Regan’s (Millicent Simmonds) hearing aid and a shotgun. With the farm in ruins and family patriarch Lee (Krasinski) dead from his sacrifice, the family is forced to venture off towards smoke from a not-so-distant fire to find new refuge. What they end up finding is more creatures and hardships, but also a familiar face in the form of a now disgruntled and isolated former friend named Emmett (Cillian Murphy) who resides in a ruined factory. Although, they find a new place to stay, the Abbot’s are far from safe as new horrors await them as Regan and Emmett head towards a mysterious radio broadcast while Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) struggle to keep the newborn baby safe.
There’s something oddly refreshing about returning to these characters and no one skips a beat in their performances. Simmonds is even better than she was in the 2018 original as Regan takes on more of a leader role this time around. Her determination and confidence to do more than just survive day to day is what makes Regan such a strong character in this setting and Simmonds kills it from start to finish. She continues to make Regan a new kind of apocalyptic heroine and showcases her perceived weakness as an immense strength. Everyone else continues to give incredibly strong performances and Murphy ends up being a great addition with how he makes Emmett this cold and tragic survivalist.
Part II is sort of a two-sided story that cuts back and forth between Regan and Emmett heading towards possible salvation while Evelyn and Marcus attempt to keep themselves safe as creatures close in on them. Both stories contain a great intensity that leaves you on the edge of your seat and Krasinski continues to show that he’s great at executing really strong suspense. Admittedly, it does feel like he’s pulling out of the same bag of tricks with how reminiscent his scare set-ups and use of perception through audio are. However, it’s a bag of tricks that hasn’t lost its effectiveness and Part II is just as much the unsettling jump scare-fest the original is.
This sequel also does a great job expanding on the world and characters in a way that maintains its mysteriousness and continues to create intriguing lore – both in past and present. As shown in the trailers, Part II heads back to the day that the alien creatures came to deliver an origin story that’s interesting enough without giving away too much. When it comes to the alien creatures, we don’t learn too much more about them aside from another weakness and how they exactly got to Earth. They’re still a very powerful threat and remain a really unique and excellently designed horror monster.
In terms of the world as a whole, Part II delivers a much wider scope of those that are left. There’s a line that Emmett has about those being left not worth saving and it’s great that the film delves into why he might be right and why he’s wrong. Shades of light normalcy and dark depravity come into Emmett and Regan’s journey that give a greater depth to what this world has become. It offers a lot of rich lore that fans can continue to theorize on and would be awesome to see explored in other mediums rather than just another sequel.
Although it provides plenty of great suspense and lore that could make a future iteration very awesome, Part II doesn’t have that impactful and satisfying ending to make you want more. It does provide a nicely triumphant ending for its younger protagonists that’s definitely epic, but it just comes off underwhelming with how this is seen as the ending. Things basically end the same way as the first film except the impact of finally killing the creature isn’t as strong since we see creatures die throughout the film and the film cuts to credits before things really feel wrapped up. There’s definitely a direction the story could go in, but the film just doesn’t leave you in a satisfying position to campaign for more.
Part II definitely pales in comparison to A Quiet Place in certain ways but ends up successfully treading new ground with how it expands its world and characters and provides a near equally thrilling experience meant for theaters with continually great performances.