A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place Part II ★★★★½

A Quiet Place Part II begins with a prologue even more harrowing than that of the first film, here flashing back to the first day of the apocalypse. The origin of the deadly monsters answers some questions and raises others, but the focus stays, as it should, on the fierce protectiveness that the Abbott family has for each other. This may be the best sequence of the film, almost overshadowing what follows. Fortunately, this sequel expands the scope of the premise, bringing the family out of the farm and into the realm of the remaining survivors.

In the first act, there is a moment of visceral horror that puts one character at a disadvantage for the rest of the film. It doesn't meet the horrific tension of the nail scene in the first film, mostly because there is no setup for it, but it does play with the need to scream and how that need puts the characters in peril. One of the new sources of tension comes from the baby's oxygenated box and the complications that surround it.

Regan (the astonishing Millicent Simmonds) takes much of the center stage, and more than carries her own. There is some great tension in the scenes in which she travels alone, since she can't tell how loud some of the noises she makes actually are. One of the highlights of this series is the editing of parallel action, and in the final sequence of this film, Regan and Marcus save the day with parallel movements in their own separate arenas. As a Radio/TV student, the fact that the day is saved through the power of broadcast electronics is the cherry on top.

The film opens with an idyllic town, untouched by the apocalypse that is right around the corner. The third act introduces another world, only accessible through a portal of sorts, which is similarly untouched. The dread that sets in once you realize that the barrier has been contaminated and the apocalypse must follow wherever the film camera goes is hard to bear, especially in this pandemic era.

There are some problems that arise in the sequel. The middle of the film seems a lot slower than it should, like it's dragging out its plot points. The creatures aren't quite as mysterious, and consequently there is much more CGI at play. A sinister group of people are introduced, a kind of symbol for humanity at its worst, but their world isn't explored and they don't amount to much other than a second-act obstacle. By the end of the film, three different major characters have sustained leg injuries -- it happens so many times that I can't help but feel it's a kind of shorthand that Krasinski has developed for a non-fatal injury that still debilitates a character.

In the end, the biggest drawback is the relative lack of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. Blunt has reduced screen time, and Krasinski is relegated to the prologue. Cillian Murphy, while always a welcome addition, has almost nothing of weight to do here. I hate to say it, but it almost seems like Krasinski wanted a father figure in the film and regretted his earlier writing choice. As much as I love Lee Abbott's sacrifice arc, having him instead of Murphy's character would have made for a better film.

For those hoping for a solid conclusion, this ends just as abruptly as the first film. In fact it feels extremely like a middle movie, one more installment in a series with great forward potential. A Quiet Place Part III seems inevitable.