There are some movies that beg for a sequel and some that are better as stand-alone experiences. Upon its release in 2018, A Quiet Place seemed like it belonged in the latter category, as it wrapped up its story nicely even as the characters faced an uncertain future. But it’s hard to resist the lure of another go-around, and so, after a year’s delay due to the pandemic, A Quiet Place Part II is now a reality.
After a brief but highly effective flashback scene, the movie picks up almost exactly where the first one left off, with Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her three kids, including Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe), dealing with the aftermath of an up-close-and-personal attack by one of the aliens. With Lee (John Krasinski), the father, now dead, they must find another way to survive, so they set out in search of other people.
Who they find and what happens after they find them is best left unsaid in a review, but Krasinski, who both wrote and directed the film, treads a lot of the same ground without ever making the story feel redundant. The family’s journey is relatively short, but the things they endure and must do along the way ratchet up the tension in many great ways.
The movie really is a “Part II” rather than a sequel, as Krasinski and his team don’t try to reinvent the wheel, taking everything that worked in the first film and just amping it up a little more. We get to see a lot more of the monsters this time around, and they are some of the most terrifying creatures you’ll ever see. One mid-film sequence that has characters in three separate locations sells the threat of the aliens particularly well.
Where the first film was about parents trying to do everything in their power to protect their kids, this one shifts a bit so that Regan and Marcus are given a lot more responsibility for the family’s survival. In just three movies — Wonderstruck and the two Quiet Place films — Simmonds has shown that she is a force to be reckoned with. Jupe, as he recently showed in HBO’s The Undoing, is also one of the best child actors working today.
Once again, the use of sound — or lack of — plays a big part in the effectiveness of the film. As the characters explore the world further, every step and breath can have dire consequences, and the filmmakers really make you feel that suspense. They also experiment a bit with having the audience go through the complete lack of sound that Regan, who is deaf, experiences, resulting in some of the best sequences of the film.
If there’s one complaint about the film, it’s that it’s only about 90 minutes long, which left me wishing for a bit more. However, in almost every case, it’s always better for a movie to be too short than too long. The ending appears to leave plenty of story left to be told, so don’t be surprised if A Quiet Place Part III rolls around in a couple of years.
A Quiet Place Part II is running in theaters now.