“A Quiet Place Part II” was written & directed by John Krasinski and stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmons, Noah Jupe, and Djimon Hounsou. The film follows the Abbott family immediately after the events of the first movie as they seek out new survivors of the apocalypse where blind creatures will kill you if you make the slightest sound.
The first film was a cinematic accomplishment, which comes around extremely rarely in this day and age. With a small budget of just a $17,000,000, director John Krasinski crafted one of the most suspenseful and intense films ever made. As a sequel to that film, “A Quiet Place Part II” obviously had some big shoes to fill. But is it as good as the original movie? It’s hard to determine. Krasinski went for a less horror-centric narrative in favor of a more dramatic narrative about family and redemption with this film. While the movie has plenty of suspenseful moments and thrilling sequences, none of them reach the heights of the original, and there are simply less of them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, since in place of some suspenseful moments were character development and a wonderful arc for Emmet, Cillian Murphy’s character. I appreciate that Krasinski didn’t just remake the first movie and instead made a different story which further explored the world of this franchise and had a stronger thematic presence, while not going too large-scale.
The best aspect of this film is new character that was introduced, Emmet. He showed a different, more pessimistic worldview than the Abbotts and also had a tragic backstory. What made the character so interesting in particular was that he was not heroic at all, and was instead broken and unstable after witnessing not only the chaos caused by the creatures, but also how vile other humans have become during the apocalypse. He went through a compelling redemption arc throughout the film in which he learned the importance of hope by helping the Abbotts. Murphy gave a terrific performance, specifically in emulating the character’s paranoia and inner conflict.
All of the other actors gave terrific performances as well. Emily Blunt, as always, was great in the film, and both of the child actors (Millicent Simmons and Noah Jupe) gave good performances as well. Normally child actors are an Achilles Heel to a movie, but these two actors sold the world very well and were never annoying.
The most important part of both movies in this franchise is the direction, which John Krasinski has nailed twice now. He is brilliant in his use of sound and the way he moves the camera to focus on the characters to build tension. There are none of the awful quick-cuts or shaky cam that plague modern movies in any action sequence of this film, which is always important to me. William Friedkin, genius director of what is possibly the best horror movie ever made, “The Exorcist,” has recently said, “A Quiet Place 2 is a classic horror film. Cinema is back.” What praise can be greater than that for John Krasinski?
As the writer, Krasinski took an unexpected choice in the narrative for this film by splitting up the characters for nearly two thirds of the runtime and creating two separate plotline, which is significantly different than the structure of the first movie. Krasinski used this to cut back and forth between the suspenseful moments experienced by the characters in each plotline. For example, the film cut from one character being trapped in an enclosed space without oxygen to another character being submerged underwater without oxygen. While this could have lowered the overall tension in the film, Krasinski executed this in a way that mostly preserved the tension while being creative with the similar situations occurring simultaneously. However, I don’t think that this was necessary, and while Krasinski still preserved much of the tension, the suspense would have been a little more effective if he didn’t cut back and forth between the two different plotlines as much as he did.
“A Quiet Place Part II” is another great entry into the franchise. It is different from the original, expands the world, doesn’t go too large in scale, and grows its characters while adding compelling new ones. It hit more dramatic beats and was more emotional than the first movie, but it was less suspenseful and intense. Since the first film was more revolutionary and literally breathtaking in several scenes, I think it’s better than the sequel, but “A Quiet Place Part II” is still a wonderful movie.