Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 37 minutes, Director – John Krasinski
Following on from the events of A Quiet Place, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) venture into the noise of the outside world, searching for silent safety in various different places.
Thank God for John Krasinski and Paramount waiting and delaying A Quiet Place Part II so that it can be viewed in a cinema! Of course, the first film, released back in 2018, was made all the more impactful from the edge-of-your-seat silent tension that all audience members took part in. From the start of the sequel it’s evident that the cinema speakers are being put to use, with the much advertised day 1 of the alien attack being witnessed in all its loud chaos. Skipping to day 474 we see the Abbott family immediately after the events of the first film. Venturing out from the silent sanctuary of their farmhouse home to hopeful safety in the noise of the outside world, using research for potential survivors collected by dad, Lee (John Krasinski).
The search for safety very much takes centre-stage in this sequel. While mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is simply looking for shelter and safety, worrying about the survival of her newborn baby, the older children are looking for something more permanent, away from the towering alien attackers. With this in mind brother and sister Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) are perhaps the biggest focuses of the film. This decision certainly creates something interesting, and as deaf Regan ventures out in search of other survivors she becomes the biggest source of engagement with the film. Simmonds is put to good use, especially after the impact that she made in the first film, and gives a strong performance.
She ventures through a number of different areas and landscapes trying to get to a location with an uncertain result. However, as monsters race to attack and kill at any hint of sound, what remains of society has, of course, changed vastly. Krasinski’s follow-up (having solely penned and directed the film) lightly looks at such changes. We meet new major character Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a former family friend before his and the Abbott’s surroundings were dramatically removed. He appears to have lost his family and is simply trying to get by by himself for as long as possible, struck by recent grief.
Alongside elements such as gangs that have been formed in certain areas, teaming for survival, and a handful of other ideas the film doesn’t go overly in-depth into such points. Simply showing them as a thing and then moving on, seemingly wanting to be as close to 90 minutes as possible. Thus, when it comes to characters being split up at certain points the film jumps between two or three different perspectives. For the most part this works fine, especially when focusing on the arcs of the kids as they grow in confidence in this world, however when it comes to the latter stages of the film and the film cuts back and forth in one moment to show action happening in various places at one time it does nearly create a sort of shift away from focus for the viewer.
Yet, perhaps the biggest issue of all for the film is its use of sound. There’s a lot more talking and general noise in this sequel and you can’t help but feel that it removes a fair deal of the silent, gripping tension that made the original such a great cinematic experience. While there’s still some decent action and moments here and there – especially condensed into the short 97 minute run-time of the piece, including credits – the horror doesn’t come through as much. The film’s angle certainly seems more focused on character in this case, once again, particularly in the case of the younger figures; who are the main source of interest and engagement. There are a number of good ideas in the film, some not as explored as much as they perhaps could be, especially in the face of exploring more of changed environments, almost unrecognisable after the alien attack of a year and a half before the events of this feature. Generally the stakes and threat feels lower because of all the noise, perhaps meaning that while with some interesting points this film wouldn’t likely survive its own world.
Focusing more on characters A Quiet Place Part II makes the most of its young performers, particularly Millicent Simmonds. Allowing for, although underexplored, world development; and increased noise, removing levels of horror and tension.