Directed By: John Krasinski, Written By: John Krasinski & Scott Beck, Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy & Millicent Simmonds.
Just last week, my son and I were having a discussion about sequels that topped their predecessors. While they may be a rare beast, it does happen, and we tossed around the usual names, such as The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, T-2 and Spider-Man 2. Sequels that surpass the original are even rarer in the horror genre. Sure, there are a few. Evil Dead 2, Dawn of the Dead and Bride of Frankenstein are only a few that spring to mind. Usually, it’s more a case of diminishing returns, as the follow-ups grow lazier and sillier and eventually end up taking the action into outer space.
Thankfully, I can happily sit here and tell you that this list has grown by another film because A Quiet Place Part Two does the impossible by not only expanding on the superb first instalment but improving on it.
2018s A Quiet place impressed the hell out of me for several reasons. Firstly, a trip to the cinema, more often than not, can be an anger-inducing experience. You pay ten pounds to sit and watch a film and end up listening to the moronic conversations of a bunch of kids, a few rows back, until you eventually Hulk out and throw your drink at them. Why pay to sit and chat with your mates at the expense of a room full of people who are there to do exactly what they should be doing? Shutting the fuck up and watching the damn movie! These people are fifty-megaton shitheads, and I implore each and every one of you to stand up and punch them in their stupid faces.
Now, back to my point. A Quiet Place did something that I had never seen before. It demanded silence throughout the room, and silence is exactly what it received. The place was so deathly quiet that I grew paranoid as I stuffed peanut M&M’s into my mouth that the entire building could hear me crunching down on my chocolate-coated treat. It was both a weird and wonderful experience. Secondly, the film built tension in a way that I hadn’t experienced in years. There were periods in the movie where I realised that I had forgotten to breathe. I left the theatre reeling from my viewing of A Quiet Place, something I hadn’t done in a long, long time. So, to say that I found A Quiet Place Part Two to be a better film is sticking my neck out, and I stand by it.
The film opens on the day that the creatures arrive and take over. It’s a ‘balls to the wall’ set-piece that lets the audience know that right from the get-go, this is going to be a faster-paced film than the original. It’s a breath-taking opener that no sooner introduces the movie's villains than sees them decimate the population of small-town USA with extreme prejudice.
Once the flashback ends, the movie starts right where the last one left off. The remaining members of the Abbott family pack up and leave the sanctuary of their farmhouse, fearing it no longer safe. Now, I’m not exactly sure what they hoped to achieve by doing this. Sure, the end of the last film saw their homestead breached, as they came under attack from the monsters that roamed the surrounding countryside, but as far as I could tell, they had managed to kill them off. Maybe it was fear that more would arrive, seeking to avenge their fallen monster colleagues, but I doubt it. There is nothing to suggest that these ‘alien beings’ are that well organised or intelligent. It could also be that with husband Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) dead, his wife no longer wants to be in a house that reminds her of the pain of her loss. This seems like the more logical explanation, but it’s never really explained. Either way, with her children in tow and a baby that could start bawling at any moment, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) must know how dangerous her decision to relocate is. Within minutes of having left their house, the film throws us its next heart-attack-inducing scene involving a bear-trap. Again, I found myself subconsciously starving myself of oxygen.
It’s around this time that the Abbotts meet Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a shifty-looking loner who has taken to isolating himself in an old factory. Is he to be trusted? The Abbott’s don’t know, and neither do we, the audience.
It’s at this point that I’ll steer away from the plot. The less you know, the better, and I don’t want to be the guy who spoils it for you. I’d pretty much avoided all spoilers or plot details for this movie, and it only served to enhance my enjoyment.
What I can say is that once again, writer, director and star John Krasinski proves himself to be an exceptional talent behind the camera. The ability to craft such nail-biting tension from scene to scene is a gift that very few filmmakers have. Who’d of thought that dorky Jim Halpert from The Office would be one such filmmaker?
The performances throughout are exceptional. Emily Blunt is a fantastic actor, as is Cillian Murphy, who I’ve enjoyed watching since 28 Days Later. The real star of the show, however, is Millicent Simmonds, who plays the Abbott’s deaf daughter, Regan. Simmonds gives an incredible performance in both films, but Part 2 really gives her character time to shine. This is her movie, and her adventure and Simmonds (who is deaf in real life) takes the ball and runs with it.
A Quiet Place Part 2 is a film that really should be seen in a theatre. At the start of the pandemic, John Krasinski said that he would rather wait and release the movie in cinemas than go down the online and on-demand route, and he absolutely made the right call. I know people who waited to see part one online, and they didn’t get the experience that those of us who saw it in theatres did.
I don’t know if there will be a part three or if there even should be. I do know that if Krasinski is attached, and if it’s as well crafted as parts one and two, I’ll be there on opening night, with bells on.