Film Review: A Quiet Place Part II
A Quiet Place Part II
Director: John Krasinski
In Theaters 05.28
I’m really trying not to view movies through the pandemic lens. It’s getting old, but it’s impossible to watch A Quiet Place Part II, perhaps the biggest poster child for venturing back out into theaters since Tenet, and not be struck by the fact that it’s an intense thriller about daring to venture outside again.
A Quiet Place Part II picks up almost immediately after the first film, as the remaining members of Abbott family—Evelyn (Emily Blunt, Sicario, Mary Poppins Returns), Regan (Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck), Marcus (Noah Jupe, Ford v Ferrari, Honey Boy) and the newborn baby—have survived the attack at home and now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they meet up with an old neighbor, Emmet (Cillian Murphy, Batman Begins, Peaky Blinders), who warns them that the terrifying creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Director John Krasinski, who makes a brief appearance as Lee Abbott in an opening flashback sequence, takes something of a Jaws 2 approach toward the beginning, recognizing that it’s not possible to duplicate the effect of holding off until the end to show us the creatures. The action-packed, Spielberg-ian opening sequence is stunningly impressive, with eye-popping visual effects, but I initially found myself thinking that I wasn’t going to get nearly as scared this time around.
But once things get quiet again, the anxiety kicks in, and A Quiet Place Part II is a pulse-pounding, white-knuckle experience that literally caused me to jump back in my chair and let out a high-pitched scream at one point, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Krasinski has such a strong sense of what makes this scenario terrifying, namely, creating a likable and real family and placing them in a situation beyond your wildest nightmares. He is so skilled at pulling the strings that these films are in a class of their own.
Blunt is, once again, terrific, as she always is, but this chapter really belongs to Simmons, Murphy and Jupe. Murphy is a great addition to the cast of characters—the first time we see him, he’s wearing a cloth covering over his mouth to muffle any noises he might make. To say that it eerily adds to the unintentional COVID-19 subtext is an understatement—and the character relationship between Emmett and Regan couldn’t be better, for the chemistry is palpable. It’s really Regan’s inner journey that justifies the sequel, and Jupe is an extraordinary young actor whose gift for being in the moment and saying so much without speaking is as strong as any adult actor working today. Djimon Hounsou (Amistad, Blood Diamond), an actor I’m always excited to see, shines in a supporting role.
The precision of the editing, by Michael P. Shawyer (Creed, Black Panther) and with additional editing credited to Oscar winner Christopher Rousse (The Bourne Ultimatum), is a huge part of what makes A Quiet Place Part II such a breathless experience, as is the score by Marco Beltrami (3:10 to Yuma). Although, as with the original, many of the scariest moments are done with little to no sound, including those that occur from Regan’s point of view.
A Quiet Place Part II is a perfect example of a “must see in a theater” movie. While it may make you even more scared to be out and about, it’s the best reason I’ve had to leave the house in a long time. It’s not only worth the long wait; it’s a flat-out better movie now than it would have been a year ago, and it serves as a reminder that, at times of crisis, it’s not just about surviving, but looking out for each other. –Patrick Gibbs